Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon decided on Thursday to extend the term of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz by a year.
This means that he will serve a total of four years as commander of the armed forces.
The decision is expected to be voted on and approved during a government meeting on Tuesday.
Gantz’s term extension was widely anticipated in light of his widely esteemed work in steering the IDF and preparing it for future challenges.
Netanyahu met with Gantz on Wednesday and praised him for “the impressive success in leading the IDF in the face of security challenges which are some of the most complex Israel has known.”
In addition to operational and structural improvements, Gantz was praised by the premier for providing ethical and professional leadership.
Ya’alon said that most of Gantz’s achievements cannot be publicized. “But they allow Israeli citizens to continue in their daily work, and they allow Israel to flourish,” he added.
Ya’alon said there were unprecedented challenges facing Israeli security, near and distant, adding that Gantz is the “right man in the right place and at the right time.
That’s why I recommended to the prime minister that his term should be extended by an additional year.”
Before being appointed chief of staff in 2011, Gantz served as deputy chief of staff from 2009 to 2010. Before that, between 2007 and 2009, he was the IDF attaché to Washington.
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman (Likud Beytenu) commended Netanyahu for extending Gantz’s term.
“At this time of complex security challenges that Israel is facing, there is great importance to Gantz remaining head of the IDF,” Liberman stated. “He proved throughout his term that he has the spirit of a true commander and knows how to lead the IDF to professional achievements while preserving its values.”
Liberman added that the committee is certain that Gantz will continue to allow Israeli citizens to live in security and with the knowledge that he is protecting them from their stormy surroundings.
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) said that Gantz represents excellent, modest and pleasant leadership, and that he is focused on securing and defending Israel.
“Gantz knew how to mend the relationship between the political and military branches and unite the General Staff once again,” Yacimovich said.
At the same time, the Labor Party leader added that “military power is necessary, but it is not enough to replace initiative and progress in the peace process.”