TEL AVIV — Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Tuesday tapped retired Maj. Gen. Udi Adam as the ministry's new director general. Adam would oversee such critical issues as US-Israel technology exchanges, Israeli exports and the implementation of the Israel military's new five-year plan.
If Ya'alon's nominee is approved by relevant Israeli authorities, Adam will replace retired Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, who announced plans to retire from the top Ministry of Defense (MoD) managerial post on March 20, pending the arrival of a designated successor.
Since 2013, Adam has served as chairman of Israel Military Industries (IMI), where he worked with MoD and the Government Companies Authority to prepare the state-owned company for long-planned privatization. In recent months, however, privatization plans appear once again to be derailed due, in large part, to an apparent conflict of interest with a firm hired by the government to assess IMI's market value and Elbit Systems, which enlisted the same firm in support of what is now a sole-source bid to procure IMI.
In his April 12 announcement, Ya'alon cited a number of top priority issues that Adam would prove "exceedingly capable" in handling, including military modernization plans, implementation of the military's five-year Gideon Plan, aspects of a new US-Israel military aid package, and "activities of the defense industries and defense exports." Tellingly, the statement did not include overseeing government privatization plans on behalf of MoD.
A second-generation general officer, Adam is the son of Yekutiel Adam, the former IDF deputy chief of staff who was killed during the 1982 Lebanon War before he could take up his post as former Prime Minister Menachem Begin's choice as director of the Mossad intelligence agency.
During Israel's controversial and much-criticized 2006 Lebanon War, Adam commanded Israel's Northern Command. He resigned a few months after that war, having apparently lost the confidence of then IDF chief of staff, Dan Halutz. Ironically, it was Halutz — having irrevocably lost public confidence — who was forced to resign in early 2007. Adam went on to serve capably in a number of public positions, including director-general of Israel's Nuclear Research Center and chairman of IMI.
"In recent weeks, I've evaluated a number of worthy candidates for the position and came to the conclusion that Udi Adam is the right man at the right time to successfully lead the ministry amid all the challenges," Ya'alon said. "I know Udi Adam many long years as a warrior and a commander, and afterwards in his position at the Nuclear Research Center and at IMI. I have no doubt that he has integrity, capability and personal maturity to carry out his duties in an exceedingly capable manner."