Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday expressed conflicting positions regarding the frameworks in which IDF officers are permitted to freely express their opinions.
Ya'alon said in an Independence Day ceremony at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv attended by dozens of senior officers, including the chief of staff, major generals and brigadier generals, "continue to act according to your human conscience and compass, and don't follow the direction of the wind." He said "During the last few months we have found ourselves struggling with a radical minority operating on the ground and in social networks. Some of them infiltrated into mainstream society, openly or in disguise, and are trying to influence the image and the values of the IDF."
As the defense minister was speaking, the Prime Minister's Office issued a response saying Netanyahu "fully supports the IDF, its commanders and its soldiers." It said the deputy chief of staff's recent comparison to Nazi Germany was inappropriate and at the wrong time, and had damaged Israel in the international arena. "IDF commanders express their opinion freely in the relevant forums and on topics that they are responsible for. The IDF is the people's army and it needs to be kept out of political disputes," the response said.