Skip to main content

How Netanyahu failed IDF battle of ethics

While IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot defended the verdict against the soldier who shot a wounded Palestinian assailant, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered only feeble support of the army’s leader.
Israel's Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot speaks at the annual Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner - RTX22X9B
Read in 

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee had a heated meeting last July with Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot. It was an unusual session, requested by Eizenkot, who wanted to shock the political class by warning that the greatest threat facing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is not the foreign armies beyond Israel’s borders. It is the loss of public trust in the military and its leaders. The context was obvious. The chief of staff was referring to comments by Knesset members and other public figures about the trial of Sgt. Elor Azaria, who was accused of killing a neutralized terrorist on March 24 (and since convicted by a military court).

The chief of staff’s alarm call came after several long months of incitement against him and the organization he heads. He felt that senior political officials were attempting to delegitimize his firm position against what Azaria did in order to score political points. But not much happened since then. Eizenkot’s warning went unheeded, and the campaign of incitement against him only got worse as the date of the verdict approached.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.