Yiftah Ron-Tal

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Yiftah Ron-Tal

Yiftah Ron-Tal (Hebrew: יפתח רון-טל‎; born 1956) is the Director of the Israel Electric Corporation, former head of the Israel Port Authority and former Major General in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Ron-Tal was born on Netiv HaLamed-Heh, a kibbutz in the Elah valley in central Israel. Drafted in 1974 into the Israeli Armored Corps, he is a former commander of the IDF Ground Forces Command.

Controversy[edit]

On October 4, 2006 he said publicly that IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz should accept responsibity for malfunctions in the Israel-Hezbollah War and accept the consequences. He hinted that Israeli PM Ehud Olmert should do the same.

"Those who directed this war must take responsibility," Ron-Tal said on Israel Radio, "We did not win this war, and it is proper that those who directed it should take responsibility".[1]

He also said that employing the IDF to evacuate settlers from the Gaza Strip Israeli Settlements just over a year ago was a grave mistake because it had seriously degraded the army's combat capabilities. Following these remarks, he was discharged from the IDF while on leave after 33 years of service, two months prior to retirement. The Israeli media reported though that Ron-Tal had sent a letter of resignation prior to being fired.[2][3]

While the comments themselves were not the most vitriolic heard since the end of the Israel-Hezbollah war, Ron-Tal was roundly criticized for making them while still in uniform. Even though Ron-Tal was on a final leave of absence before leaving the army, orders state that active soldiers are forbidden from giving interviews to the media without permission from the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, especially resenting opinions about the army and politics. He was the second general officer to criticize Halutz while in uniform over the war, the first being Ilan Harari.

In a previous controversial interview in 2003, he had advocated the liquidation of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat.[4]

Ron-Tal serves as head of the Israel Electric Corporation, after having headed the Israel Port Authority.[5]

References[edit]