Jerusalem - Brigadier General Erez Zuckerman announced Thursday that he is resigning from the Israel Defense Forces due to his failure as a commander during the Second Lebanon War.
"Even during the final days of the war, I felt I had failed in my role as division commander and I decided to take personal responsibility for my failure," he told Haaretz on Thursday.
"However, I felt if I resigned immediately after the war, it would be evading my duty to restore order and train the division properly," he said. "After almost a year of work, I am convinced my division is capable of handling any mission given it."
"I am certain that the IDF will succeed in the face of all future challenges under the leadership of its senior commanders," Zuckerman said.
"I blame no one but myself for the way I led the division during the war."
Zuckerman, 43, spent most of his military service as a marine commando and as first officer of an elite combat unit where he earned a reputation for bravery and talent.
When the Second Lebanon War broke out, he pressured the IDF to call the Pillar of Fire reservist Armored Corps division for duty, and allow him to lead it. "If I had just sat quietly, I would have continued to rise through the ranks after the war," he said.
Zuckerman had never had any Armored Corps training and was not given any before being assigned to the tank unit and sent to fight in July last year.
In February, Zuckerman and several other commanders underwent weeks of training at an army base in the Negev, seven months after the war had finished, as part of the IDF's bid to implement the lessons learned in the conflict with regards to training its senior staff.
Severe criticism of Zuckerman's performance in Lebanon led him to consider resigning several times, and he had discussed this with his seniors since last October. However despite findings against him, then Chief-of-Staff Dan Halutz elected he should remain in his post for a third year.
He made the decision to resign last week and met with current Chief-of-Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, who commended him on his long service and accepted his resignation.
In December, former division commander Brigadier General Gal Hirsch also left his post after the investigations of an army-appointed panel found him responsible for the cross-border abduction of two IDF soldiers which was a major cause of the Second Lebanon War.
Israel fought Hezbollah for 34 days last summer , destroyed Lebanon's infrastructure, killed over 1200 Lebanese mainly civilians and wounded over 4000 Lebanese .
During the last days of the war Israel fired over 1 million cluster bombs in south Lebanon, but the majority did not explode . Many Lebanese have since died from getting in contact with the unexploded bombs .
The damages to Lebanon were estimated by the UN to be more than 15 billion US dollars. The war started when Hezbollah militants crossed the border into Israel and kidnapped 2 Israeli soldiers.
PICTURE: The four Israel Defense Forces commanders who headed the divisions that fought in the recent war in Lebanon . They are clockwise, from top right: Brigadier Generals Guy Tsur, Eyal Eisenberg, Erez Zuckerman and Gal Hirsch.
Feedback? We want to hear your thoughts!