Former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz was named as the new chairman of the Israel Basketball Association on Tuesday, accepting what has become to be regarded as an ungrateful role in recent years.
The position hasn’t been filled since Avner Kopel resigned four months ago after the State Comptroller of Israel and the IBA’s internal comptroller criticized his actions as chairman.
Maccabi Tel Aviv chairman Shimon Mizrahi took his place on an interim basis and is believed to also be behind the surprise appointment of Halutz.
The 65-year-old Halutz was IDF Chief of Staff between June 2005 and January 2007, ultimately resigning from office following wide-scale public criticism of his actions during the Second Lebanon War.
He achieved little success after turning to politics, joining Kadima, but never even becoming a Member of Knesset after quitting the party in March of last year.
Nevertheless, he was a prize asset for the IBA due to his public status and was chosen as the new chairman on Tuesday, with 20 board members voting in favor of his appointment and eight abstaining.
However, there remains plenty of opposition to Halutz’s selection in the IBA, with the Oz faction, led by former coach Tzvika Sherf, appealing to the IBA’s High Court on the matter, claiming that IBA regulations were broken in the process of electing Halutz.
“My decision to take on this voluntary role comes on the basis of my understanding of the national importance of sports in general and basketball in particular,” wrote Halutz.
The High Court will meet on Sunday to decide on the issue.