Richard Silverstein – Tikun Olam January 22, 2012
During the Great Depression, FDR reacted to the Republican-dominated Supreme Court’s stymieing of his New Deal proposals by packing the Court with his own hand-picked supporters. It didn’t work out for him as he was forced to roll back the initiative as a violation of constitutional precedent. Bibi Netanyahu, Tehran-bound in his own F-16 if he has half a chance, has an opportunity to appoint his own hand-picked candidate, Yochanan Locker, as incoming air force commander. Locker is known to support an IDF attack on Iran. He is also known to be favored by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, another advocate of war.
Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, known to oppose an attack, neither wants to be dictated to by the prime minister, nor saddled with a key subordinate who will subvert his own command by advocating war with Iran. While it is common for chiefs of staff to coordinate appointments with prime ministers, it’s rare for the political echelon to cram a candidate for such a position down the throat of the supreme military commander. Gantz rightly is gagging on this morsel being shoved down his throat. His preferred candidate is Amir Eshel, a known opponent of an Iran strike.
There you have it. On the cusp of war, Israel’s political and military echelon are divided, even dysfunctional about the way to go. Even an appointment like air force commander could tip the balance in favor of war.