Eisenkot Says New Government Could Cause IDF to Break Up

By Shmuel Smith

New member of the Knesset Gadi Eisenkot posing for a photo a day before the opening session of the Knesset, November 14, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)  

In the latest salvo of the rhetorical barrage against the incoming government, National Unity MK Gadi Eisenkot warned on Tuesday that the right-wing coalition could cause the breakup of the IDF.

“The behavior of the future coalition undermines the authority of the IDF command, harms the faith of the public, and could lead to the breakup of the army,” claimed Eisenkot, a former army chief of staff, speaking at a Israel Democracy Institute conference reported by The Times of Israel.

“The citizens of Israel are not aware of the complex reality in which we, the IDF and Shin Bet, operate to combat terrorism with a 98% success rate and save lives. If this balance is violated, it will create a very complex situation,” he said.

The report did not explain how a right-wing government, which is supportive of Israel’s security forces and proposes to give them stronger backing, would weaken the IDF.

Also on Tuesday, former Supreme Court justice Hanan Meltzer, currently president of the Israeli Press Council, said that prime minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu’s government will likely try to impose limits on the freedom of the press.

“In recent days, it was reported that the news division of the Kan public broadcaster will be abolished, and some believe that this trend is expected to be extended to other media as well,” Meltzer said.

“If this is not officially denied as soon as possible, I hereby announce as the president of the Press Council that we will be forced to appeal to the public and do whatever we can within the framework of the law to thwart this anticipated attack on the freedom of the press and the media, the public’s right to know and our democratic resilience,” Meltzer declared.

Netanyahu’s Likud party has not yet responded to Meltzer’s comments.

However, in response to the unsourced report on Channel 12 News on Sunday, to which Meltzer was referring, the Likud stated that “the issue did not come up in the negotiations.”

Kan replaced the Israeli Broadcasting Authority in 2017 after a lengthy legislative battle, during which then-prime minister Netanyahu opposed it, unsuccessfully. 

Likud MK Shlomo Karhi told Army Radio on Monday that Kan should be left to fend for itself in the open market: “If the channel is a good channel whose content the public wants to consume, then it can manage even without the public funding.”

“The public doesn’t need to finance one particular channel… regardless of the fact that it’s driven by an agenda or not driven by an agenda,” he continued, adding, “the public shouldn’t fund one particular channel, there should not be public broadcasting.”

Likud lawmaker Miri Regev, a Netanyahu loyalist who was then culture minister, notably asked in 2016 during a Knesset hearing: “What is the broadcasting corporation worth if we don’t control it? Why should we put up the money if they’re going to air what they want?”

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!