Photo Credit: Kobi Richter / TPS
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot at Western Wall ceremony marking 50 years to the Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem. May,23, 2017. *** Local Caption *** ????"? ??? ???????

(Written by Nechama Duek)

The scent of a coming election is once again in the air and with it, talk of potential candidates, chief among them, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (res.) Gadi Eizenkot. Seen as a moral and modest man, Eizenkot is remembered for declining the first offer he received to lead the Israel Defense Forces on the grounds he did not yet feel ready for the role.


This was also the case in the previous round of elections when Eizenkot did not feel ready to dive into the murky Israeli political waters. Now, however, he is reportedly ready to enter politics. According to these reports, he is once again conducting himself with modesty and insinuating he has no plans to serve as the head of any party –  not that anyone has offered him – and is interested in serving as No. 2 while he learns the trade.

Indeed, politics is a profession in which those who understand the rules of the game, are able to navigate social media, and grow particularly thick skin survive. Politics is not for everyone, and certainly not for all former military generals.

There is a huge disparity between how one conducts themselves in the military compared to the political field. In the army, a squad commander issues an order and doesn’t look back. The order is simply carried out. This is especially true of high-ranking commanders, and necessarily true for the chief of staff.

In politics, by contrast, there are no orders and there is no automatic obedience. In politics, the one who yells the loudest into the loudspeaker is the one the people remember. There is no room for humility. Just look at Ra’am MK Mazen Ghnaim, Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, and Yamina MKs Idit Silman and Amichai Chikli and the trouble they have caused the coalition. They aren’t interested in either the party or the government. Their only concern is their personal interests, in the name of which they want to remain in the Knesset.

Eizenkot would be wise to take a glance at the list of generals that have entered politics. A majority of them ended their political career battered and bruised or without having an impact. Take, for example, Haim Bar-Lev, Mordechai Gur, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Amram Mitzna, Gabi Ashkenazi, and Shaul Mofaz, among others. If in their military career, they could be described as supreme leaders, in politics, they were – how can we put it gently? Failures. Professional politicians wiped the floor with them.

The generals who succeeded are few and far between. Defense Minister Benny Gantz is still hanging on and trying to learn the necessary lessons. Time will tell if he succeeds. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who carries both the title of Israel’s most decorated soldier and its shortest-serving prime minister, pulled the IDF out of Lebanon but failed in the political field. Of course, the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, after decades in the field, was a beloved premier. Eizenkot would, therefore, be wise to ensure he has thick enough skin before embarking on a political career.

{Reposted from IsraelHayom}


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