In a move aimed at stabilizing the IDF, Defense Minister Ehud Barak will bring a
proposal Sunday morning to the cabinet to appoint Maj.- Gen. Benny Gantz, who
served until three months ago as the deputy chief of staff, as the IDF’s next
chief of General Staff.
In the race to replace Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi,
Gantz originally lost out to Maj.- Gen. Yoav Galant, who has since forfeited the
nomination due to the land affair connected to his home in the town of Amikam in
Turkel: Galant deposed because of media lashing
Galant: I believe I will be the next chief of staff
Gantz’s appointment will be brought before the Turkel
Committee and, if cleared, to the cabinet for final approval.
appointment is not expected to run into opposition since Gantz has all the
necessary qualifications to serve as the chief of General Staff. He has served
as head of the Northern Command, head of the Ground Forces Command, the IDF’s
attaché in Washington DC, and also as deputy chief of staff, making him the most
veteran general still in service.
Barak said that he believed Gantz was
the right candidate to “stabilize the military establishment and lead the IDF to
counter the various challenges it faces.”
Gantz’s main contender for the
post was OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, who reportedly told Barak
to appoint Gantz to the post. Eizenkot will likely take a year off and then
return to the IDF to replace Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh as the next deputy chief of
staff, making the two of them the main candidates to replace Gantz in three
If he is approved by the Turkel Committee and the cabinet, Gantz
will take up the post on February 14 in place of Ashkenazi, whose tenure Barak
decided not to extend. Barak had initially planned to present a proposal to
appoint Naveh as the interim chief of staff, but withdrew the idea after coming
under major political and public criticism.
The one obstacle Gantz could
face is Galant, whose appointment was nixed last week by Attorney-General Yehuda
Weinstein. On Friday, Galant gave a number of interviews on news stations
claiming that he still believed he would be the chief of staff.
cabinet meets on Sunday, I think they will consider all of the different
parameters and make the right decision,” Galant said on Channel 2.
cabinet decides to cancel Galant’s appointment, the former head of the Southern
Command could stillappeal to the High Court of Justice and demand that his appointment remain in
Vice premier Moshe Ya’alon fiercely attacked Barak’s handling of
the appointment of the next IDF chief of General Staff on Saturday, accusing him
of harming the country and “losing his mind.”
In an interview on Channel
2’s Meet the Press program, Ya’alon said Barak appointed Galant in a way that
was too hasty. He also defended outgoing IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi from Barak’s
attacks on him.
“If the situation got to be that bad, why was the cabinet
not told so we could decide to fire him?” Ya’alon said. “Barak’s behavior
indicates that he is losing his mind by declaring a war on Ashkenazi that does
not have a reason I am aware of. Their relationship harms the security of the
Vice premier Silvan Shalom spoke to Barak on Saturday and told
him that while he thinks Galant would have been a terrific
chief-of-general-staff, he would vote for Ganz, because he believes it is
important to appoint a permanent chief for the IDF. He came out against
appointing a temporary commander on Thursday.
Shas chairman Eli Yishai
said his party would only vote for Ganz if it is clear that his appointment
would pass all legal obstacles by the time Ashkenazi’s term ends on February 14.
He said that if not, he would ask for Ashkenazi’s term to be
“The stability of the IDF in such troubled times must be above
any consideration,” Yishai said.
Deputy Negev and Galilee Development
Minister Ayoub Kara called on Saturday for the formation of an advisory
committee that would interview future IDF chiefs and make a recommendation to
Speaking at a conference of former officers, he said that
such a committee, which would be made up of retired generals and judges, could
stop the politicization of the IDF.