IDF Tension Since Barak Took Helm Breaks into Israel’s Newspapers

The Israel Defense Force reacted sharply this week when the latest rumblings of discontent among senior officers over the methods of the new chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak, hit the pages of Israel’s largest daily.

According to Yediot Achronot, there is anger in the upper echelons of the army at the treatment of a highly regarded brigade commander, identified only as “Col. S.”

Although praised as “one of my best” by former Chief of Staff Dan Shomron, the colonel was separated from his command in the northern sector and reassigned to what his colleagues described as a “post of lesser importance” in the administered territories, Yediot Achronot reported.

The IDF issued a statement Wednesday making clear that “the assignment of colonels to various posts is the responsibility and the authority of the chief of the general staff. The subject has not in the past, and will not in the future, be discussed on the pages of newspapers.”

The paper quoted officers as saying Barak ordered the shift because he considered the colonel to be a protege of Gen. Yossi Peled, former commander of the northern sector, with whom he reportedly had been feuding.

The IDF officers corps has been rankled by the many cuts in personnel which Barak, citing budgetary constraints, has made since he took over last month as chief of staff.

Included among the cuts has been the elimination of certain posts .- leading to deferred promotions for some career officers and early retirement for others.

Barak has also eliminated most IDF publications, including highly regarded professional journals, and army radio has been relegated to civilian hands.

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