IDF Spokesman Nominee Pulls Out

YERUSHALAYIM -
Caption Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, Israeli Defense Forces Spokesperson. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The nominee for the position of IDF spokesperson withdrew his name from consideration on Sunday, saying that he had been the victim of a “witch hunt” as soon as his name was mentioned in the media, The Times of Israel reported.

The revelation that Gil Messing had served as a police agent in the 2105 Yisrael Beytenu corruption investigation prompted a high-level review of his nomination, even though Messing had never been suspected of any wrongdoing. In fact, the State’s Attorney’s Office has specifically commended his assistance and sense of civic duty in bringing corrupt officials to justice.

On Sunday, Messing sent a letter to Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi cancelling his candidacy for the coveted job. He would have succeeded Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis as the military’s official spokesperson.

He wrote that he did not want his personal history to be “used as a battering ram against the chief of staff or the IDF.”

As soon as his nomination was announced, “a witch hunt began, full of lies and manipulations, that tried to tarnish my name and motivations. I could not, and will not, stand idly by as these efforts are directed against me, my family, the chief of staff and the institution of the IDF spokesperson, only because I agreed to accept a civil post,” Messing stated in his letter.

In a statement, Kohavi said he “sadly” accepted Messing’s decision to revoke his candidacy.

“The chief of staff stressed that assisting law enforcement and the institutions of the state are among the civic responsibilities that citizens of Israel have,” the army said.