By Kaamil Ahmed
JERUSALEM (AA) – Israel's prime minister and defense minister have attempted to ease tensions between them regarding the military’s role in domestic politics.
On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned his defense minister and fellow Likud party member, Moshe Yaalon, for comments made by the latter in which he encouraged military leaders to speak out against perceived ethical breaches.
According to a joint statement released by the two men after their Monday meeting, there was "no dispute that the army is subordinate to the government and that officers are free to express their opinions in relevant forums".
The falling-out came after Netanyahu criticized deputy army chief Yair Golan for voicing concerns last week about rising intolerance in Israeli society, saying the current atmosphere in the country reminded him of 1930s-era Germany.
The army and Yaalon were already under pressure from certain quarters of Israel’s right-wing government for prosecuting an Israeli soldier who had killed an already injured Palestinian in the West Bank city of Hebron in March.
The Times of Israel reported that Yaalon told Israeli army officials on Sunday that they should not be afraid to speak out about the ethical implications of decisions made by the country’s politicians.
While the Israeli military often describes itself as the "most moral" army in the world, it has been accused of responding disproportionately to a spate of recent alleged knife attacks by Palestinians.
During more than six months of violence that began last October, more than 200 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli security forces following alleged attacks or during clashes.