JERUSALEM, Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appointment of Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror as head of the National Security Council highlighted the sharp division that exists between predominantly left-wing secularists and their traditionalist counterparts.
Netanyahu described Amidror as a man who is “not afraid to express his professional opinion," in a statement released by his office.
“He has a lot of accumulated knowledge and experience in military, security, and strategy fields and will lead the National Security Council as a body central to determining Israel’s national and security policies,” he said of his newly appointed national security advisor.
Left-wing politicians, writers, actors and intellectuals unhappy with the appointment sent a scathing letter to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee alleging that Amidror’s worldview would “endorse lethal harm to Palestinian children as well as hesitant Israeli boys.”
The signatories said the general’s remarks at a conference last year on the “National Values in the Israel Defense Forces,” sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute, disqualified him “from any public position, certainly not a sensitive military-political post.”
During his address, Amidror said that a soldier who jeopardizes others by refusing orders should receive “a bullet in his head” in “any normal military system” and be jailed in a “liberal system.”
The signatories also slammed the prime minister, saying his “immoral and unreasonable appointment of Amidror…proves that we should not believe even one word uttered by Netanyahu,” whose “lips promise peace while his hands start a fire.”
Amidror’s supporters dismissed the accusations.
“The radical, anti-Zionist Left in Israel would today surely disqualify King David from serving as king of Israel,” MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said, adding that “the only thing that guides the radical leftist group is its desperate objection to anything that symbolizes the word ‘patriotism.’”
IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Avi Benayahu told Israel Radio that Amidror “is being judged because of [his] kippa [yarmulke] and beard.”
During his 36-year military career, Amidror served as commander of the IDF’s National Defense College and the IDF Staff and Command College. As head of the IDF’s Research and Assessment Division, he was responsible for the National Intelligence Assessment. He also served as military secretary of the defense minister.
Before his latest appointment, he served as program director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and as vice president of the Lander Institute, an academic center in Jerusalem.