Israel's Military Chiefs Full of 'Loathing': Report

Barak and Ashkenazi Slammed by Watchdog

‘Loathing and Mistrust’:An Israeli government report said a bitter feud between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi sullied the nation’s army.
getty images
‘Loathing and Mistrust’:An Israeli government report said a bitter feud between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi sullied the nation’s army.

By Reuters

Published January 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel’s government watchdog criticised outgoing Defence Minister Ehud Barak and former armed forces chief Gabi Ashkenazi on Sunday over a relationship full of “loathing and mistrust” that had hurt the military’s hallowed national image.

The findings detailed mud-slinging at the very top of Israel’s defence establishment and briefly shifted local media focus away from the approaching Jan. 22 national election.

Ashkenazi and Barak, whose strained relationship was an open secret, locked horns in 2010 over the appointment of Ashkenazi’s successor as military chief of staff.

Ashkenazi, a watchdog report said, had been given a letter supposedly showing that one contender had engaged a publicist to mount a campaign to discredit his rival. The document was leaked to the press and the police later found it was forged.

The scandal drew condemnation across Israel, a country with compulsory military conscription, where maintaining solidarity with the army is sacrosanct.

“Given its content and problematic implications and given the fact that he was then the commander of both officers…, Ashkenazi should have conducted a thorough probe into the document,” the report said.

The state comptroller’s report also said that Ashkenazi acted improperly in allowing one of his aides to gather information that could damage Barak.

The report found fault in Barak’s conduct when he held up Ashkenazi’s appointments of senior officers to a number of key military roles and scolded both men for not “rising above their personal differences”.

“In the state of Israel, where the defence establishment is both a matter of existence and an ethos, public trust in security chiefs must not be undermined because of an intolerable relationship (full) of loathing and mistrust,” the report said.

Ashkenazi was quoted in the media as saying he accepted the criticism of his conduct in the report and Barak issued a statement calling for a criminal investigation into the affair.

Barak has announced he is leaving politics after the election and, with Ashkenazi now retired from the military, the report is unlikely to have an immediate impact on their careers.

But Ashkenazi is widely believed to be interested in entering politics. Barak could return as defence minister in a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a political appointee, even without a seat in the legislature.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.