Top Israeli General Is Forced Out After Publicly Criticizing Lebanon War

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JERUSALEM — Israel’s army chief fired a top general Wednesday over his criticism of the war in Lebanon and government policy, the army said.

The dismissed officer, Major General Yiftah Ron-Tal gave unauthorized interviews to several Israeli news outlets earlier Wednesday, an army statement said.

Mr. Ron-Tal said the army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, must “accept responsibility” for the shortcomings of Israel’s 34-day war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, which ended August 14.

General Halutz, in a letter to Mr. Ron-Tal, said he was terminating the general’s stay in the military immediately. General Halutz said Mr. Ron-Tal’s decision to make public statements was “unacceptable,” the army statement said.

“Israeli soldiers are forbidden to deal with political subjects and make public comments on political and diplomatic issues, and all the more so, it is forbidden for soldiers to publicly criticize the government,” it said.

Mr. Ron-Tal is the second general to exit over the war. The commander of the northern sector, including the Lebanon border, Major General Udi Adam, resigned after General Halutz posted another general to oversee his command during the fighting. Mr. Ron-Tal, who was already on leave before his scheduled retirement in December, was the commander of Israeli ground forces. In the interviews, he also criticized Israel’s unilateral pullout from Gaza a year ago.

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