JERUSALEM (Jun. 1)
Premier Yitzhak Rabin informed his Cabinet today that he has appointed former Likud leader Gen. (Res) Ariel Sharon as his special advisor on security matters, a civilian post with potentially far-reaching influence. The Premier acted on his prerogative to appoint advisors without prior Cabinet approval. His move was apparently intended to end the mounting public debate over the fitness of the controversial Yom Kippur War hero to occupy a sensitive position within the government whose policies he has severely criticized.
Rabin did not indicate when Sharon would assume his new post nor did he make it clear what his responsibilities would be. The Premier said that the definition of the new office would be determined “after coordination with other elements involved,” Sharon, who resigned his Knesset seat earlier this year to return to the army, will continue to retain his senior post in the reserves. But according to Israel’s civil service regulations his political activities will be severely limited as long as he is a “State employee.” Sharon has already reportedly announced that he would not attend a Gush Emunim rally in support of unrestricted Jewish settlement in the administered territories even though he personally supports that group’s cause.
IMPLEMENTS AGRANAT RECOMMENDATION
Sharon’s appointment as Rabin’s security advisor was seen here as the first step toward implementing the Agranat Committee’s recommendation for the creation of a National Security Council. Rabin had previously named another controversial general, Rehavim Zeevi, as his advisor on intelligence matters. He reportedly considered Sharon’s appointment a matter of some urgency because of possible military problems that may arise this summer.
Rabin acted despite advice from his Defense Minister, Shimon Peres, to delay Sharon’s appointment. The newspaper Al Hamishmar reported last week that Peres feared that the appointment would place Chief of Staff Gen, Mordechai Gur in an untenable position because Sharon would become, in effect, Gur’s superior. Sharon made so secret of the fact that he considered himself the most suitable candidate for Chief of Staff after the Yom Kippur War and the resignation of Chief of Staff Gen, David Elazar whose conduct of the war was criticized by the Agranat panel in its first interim report. After leaving the Knesset, Sharon reportedly sought the post of Deputy Chief of Staff but this was blocked by Gen, Gur who vowed that as long as he was in command of the armed forces, Sharon would not be given that post, Sharon, whose break through Egyptian lines to establish an Israeli salient on the West Bank of the Suez Canal was regarded as the most brilliant Israeli military maneuver of the Yom Kippur War, incurred the wrath of many of his colleagues by his outspoken criticism of the Israeli high command. Gen, Sharon is the founding father of Likud.