Yair Golan

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Yair Golan
Yair Golan.JPG
Born (1962-05-14) 14 May 1962 (age 57)
Rishon LeZion, Israel
AllegianceIsrael Israel
Years of service1980–2018
RankIDF aluf rotated.svg Aluf
Commands heldIsraeli Northern Command
Faction represented in Knesset
2019-Democratic Union (Israel Democratic Party)

Aluf Yair Golan (Hebrew: יאיר גולן‎) is a retired major general in the Israel Defense Forces who served as Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and is currently an MK for the Democratic Union. Previously, he served as the commander of Home Front Command and Northern Command.[1] He was succeeded by Aviv Kochavi as Deputy Chief of General Staff in November 2016.

Military service[edit]

Golan was drafted into the IDF in 1980. He volunteered as a paratrooper in the Paratroopers Brigade. He served as a soldier and a squad leader and fought in the 1982 Lebanon War. After completing Officer Candidate School he became an infantry officer a and returned to the Paratroopers Brigade as a platoon leader. Golan served as the commander of the Brigade's Anti-tank company and led the 890 Paratroop Battalion in counter-guerrilla operations in the South Lebanon conflict and in the First Intifada.[2] In 1993 he served as a Battalion Commander in IDF Officers' School and afterwards served as Judea and Samaria Division's Operations Branch Officer. Between the years 1996–1997 he Commanded the Eastern brigade of Lebanon Liaison Unit and afterwards served as the head of the Operations section in the Operations Directorate. During the Second Intifada, Golan commanded the Nahal Infantry Brigade.[3] Afterwards he commanded the 91st Division and the Judea and Samaria Division. In the years 2008-2011 Golan served as the Commander of Home Front Command, which he led through Operation Cast Lead.[4] In July 2011 he served as the Commander of Israeli Northern Command,[4] and in December 2014 as Deputy Chief of General Staff. Golan was replaced by Aluf Aviv Kochavi in May 2017.[5]

Holocaust Day Speech[edit]

Golan made a speech on Holocaust Day in 2016 in which some say he draw a parallel between Germany in the 1930s and current day Israel, by saying "If there is one thing that is scary in remembering the Holocaust, it is noticing horrific processes which developed in Europe – particularly in Germany – 70, 80, and 90 years ago, and finding remnants of that here (in Israel) among us in the year 2016." He recognized that sometimes Israeli soldiers were harsh in dealing with Palestinians, and he highlighted the example of Sergeant Elor Azaria being tried over a Hebron shooting incident as evidence that the IDF investigates itself and has high moral standards.[6] His comments drew significant criticism on social media, with Twitter users accusing Golan of "forgetting the lessons of the Holocaust."[7] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the comments "outrageous" and said they "do injustice to Israeli society and create contempt for the Holocaust." Culture Minister Miri Regev called for his resignation, while opposition leader Isaac Herzog praised Golan for exhibiting "morality and responsibility."[8] Later Golan retracted and said that he did not intend to compare Israel to Nazi Germany, releasing a statement in which he said "It is an absurd and baseless comparison and I had no intention whatsoever to draw any sort of parallel or to criticise the national leadership. The IDF is a moral army that respects the rules of engagement and protects human dignity."[9]

Political life[edit]

On 26 June 2019, Ehud Barak announced that Golan will join him in forming a new party intent on challenging Netanyahu in the upcoming September 2019 Israeli legislative election.[10] He later joined the Democratic Union alliance to contest the September election.[11]

He re-activated the Democratic Choice party in January 2020, becoming its leader and joining the Democratic Union again in advance of the 2020 Israeli legislative election.[12]


  1. ^ Gal Perl Finkel, Between fire and maneuver, or a combination of the two, The Jerusalem Post, 6 September 2018.
  2. ^ Gal Perl Finkel, Israel defines redlines for Iran in Lebanon, The Jerusalem Post, 11 February 2018.
  3. ^ Gal Perl Finkel, IDF promotes officers who think outside the box, but still follow the line, The Jerusalem Post, 18 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Major General Yair Golan, GOC Homefront Command". Israel Defense Forces. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
  5. ^ Gross, Judah Ari (11 May 2017). "Aviv Kochavi takes over from Yair Golan as IDF deputy chief". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Top IDF officer Yair Golan compares modern Israel to 1930s Germany in bombshell speech". International Business Times. 5 May 2016.
  7. ^ "IDF general in bombshell speech: Israel today shows signs of 1930s Germany". Jerusalem Post. 4 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Netanyahu upbraids top general for 'outrageous' Shoah comparison". Times of Israel. 8 May 2016.
  9. ^ "Israeli military chief backtracks from 1930s Germany comparison". The Guardian. 5 May 2016.
  10. ^ Jacob Magid (26 June 2019). "Declaring Netanyahu's time is up, Ehud Barak announces formation of new party". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  11. ^ Elad Benari (25 July 2019). "Meretz and Israel Democratic unite". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  12. ^ Jacob Magid (7 January 2020). "2 of 3 left-wing slates that make up Democratic Camp ink deal to stick together". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 7 January 2020.