At 8:30 in the morning on Wednesday, when the doors of the Cabinet meeting room opened, and the members of the Security Cabinet entered, with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu leading the way, accompanied by his negotiating team in the Turkish talks, the top military brass were conspicuously absent.
The ministers had expected that IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and the head of the Intelligence Division, Gen. Hertzi Halevi, would be there to give their opinion on the reconciliation with Turkey. But they weren’t there.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman first, and then Netanyahu, told the ministers who inquired as to their absence that the participation of the military echelon was unnecessary, since the matter was purely political, not military.
Is this true?
Yes and no.
True, it was a political agreement, crafted by civilian officials. Yet, it was clear to everyone from the outset that there were military and security aspects to be considered as well. So while it is true that the military was not needed, it was also right for the ministers to want to know why they weren’t there.
Paradoxically, as the ministers pointed out, now that the agreement has been carefully reviewed and approved by the Cabinet, it will be referred to … the military and security echelons in Turkey and Israel! They are the ones who will be charged with overseeing implementation of the agreement: transfer of goods into Gaza, renewal of joint exercises involving the IDF and the Turkish military, cooperation in everything connected with Syria and the war with ISIS, and so on.
Obviously, the military echelon is very much in the picture.
And they also supported the agreement. In their view, it is a proper one, which will benefit both sides, and especially Israel.