MK Ayalon calls on Peretz to resign as Defense Minister

Following GOC Northern Command Udi Adam’s announcement of his planned resignation, MK Ami Ayalon (Labor) called Wednesday for Defense Minister Amir Peretz to do the same.

„Brigadier General Adam is not the only one responsible for the events of the war in Lebanon. There are those in the political echelon who are responsible, and I think Peretz needs to own up to this responsibility and resign,” Ayalon said.
Ayalon, who is a former Israel Navy commander and former head of the Shin Bet security service, has recently challenged Peretz’ leadership at the Labor Party and said he would run against him in the next party primaries.
Adam informed Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz on Tuesday that he wished to retire as soon as possible. According to an IDF spokesman, Halutz accepted Adam’s request.
The Maariv daily reported Wednesday that Adam decided to retire „when the last soldier returns from Lebanon,” which is expected next week.
Peretz announced Wednesday morning that he would summon Adam for a meeting on the matter.
„The state of Israel definitely owes [Adam] a great debt,” Peretz told Israel Radio. „No doubt we need to examine the meaning of the [move], why he decided to do it … such an announcement by a general cannot be ignored.”
Following Adam’s announcement, Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer called on Halutz to resign.
„I respect and salute Adam’s decision. He knew when to accept responsibility and I hope the Chief of Staff speak out soon and take responsibility as well,” Ben-Eliezer said.
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said Adam’s decision to resign expresses „integrity, self respect and the ability to accept responsibility” and called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Peretz and Halutz to follow in Adam’s footsteps.
According to the Maariv report, Adam decided to retire a month ago, when the fighting in Lebanon ended, after he was insulted when Halutz appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplinsky, to command the north during the war.
The proposal to appoint Kaplinksy was made in the early stages of the war, but was implemented only after criticism over the IDF’s performance in the war was voiced by the public and politicians.
Adam told his associates that he had done all that he could to prepare the Northern Command for the war, and that he supports any measures to investigate the war, the report said.
Adam said he wanted to serve as an example for accepting responsibility and showing leadership.