As Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue their efforts to rebuild and rearm following the conflict with Israel in November, and terrorist threats multiply from the Sinai Peninsula, outgoing Ground Forces Commander Maj.-Gen.

Sami Turgeman is set to become the new OC Southern Command.

The south is experiencing its calmest period since the first Kassam rocket attack from Gaza in 2001, with no violations of the cease-fire by Palestinian terrorists recorded.

Turgeman will enter this tense calm as southern commander, after a series of appointments at the IDF’s general staff received a green light this week from Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The appointments were proposed by IDF Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.

Turgeman became commander of the Ground Forces in 2009. Before that, between 2007 and 2009, he commanded the Seventh Armored Brigade, which is made up of tank battalions under the IDF’s Northern Command.

Turgeman will replace Maj.- Gen. Tal Russo, who served in his position for two years, and is expected to retire after a military career spanning 35 years.

Russo played a central role during Operation Pillar of Defense against Gazan terror factions in November, and in ongoing attempts by the IDF to secure the south against rocket fire.

Brig.-Gen. Guy Tzur, the outgoing head of the IDF’s Planning Department, will replace Turgeman as Ground Forces commander.

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