(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
This wasn’t the way Maj.- Gen. Benny Gantz wanted to be appointed IDF chief of
General Staff, but he will not be the first to get the post after having been
skipped over once before.
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Current chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi
Ashkenazi lost the race to Dan Halutz in 2005 – and was brought back to the post
in 2007 after Halutz resigned in the wake of the criticism following the Second
Out of all the candidates who ran for chief of staff this
time around, Gantz was the most experienced.
He was drafted into the IDF
in 1977. At the age of 28 he was appointed a battalion commander, and at the
relatively young age of 42, he received the desired rank of
Gantz was also commander of the Paratrooper’s Brigade, and
commander of the Lebanon Liaison Unit, as well as of the Judea and Samaria
Division during the height of the second intifada.
Since then, he has
served as OC Northern Command and head of the IDF Ground Forces
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In July, 2009 he was brought back from Washington, DC – where he
was serving as the IDF’s military attaché to the United States – to serve as the deputy chief of staff.
At the time, Defense Minister Ehud Barak wanted to
appoint Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant – then head of the Southern Command – but
Ashkenazi vetoed the move, preferring Gantz.
Gantz has received a number
of university degrees during his military service.
In the IDF, he
graduated from the Command and Staff College as well as from the National
He earned an MA in National Resource Management from the
US National Defense University, and an MA in political science from Haifa
The son of Holocaust survivors, Gantz has spoken often about
the correlation between Nazi Germany and the current Islamic regime in Iran –
whose nuclear program will be one of the main challenges he will face during his
upcoming term as chief of staff.
During his tenure as deputy chief of
staff, Gantz was involved in preparing the IDF for a possible confrontation with
Iran over its nuclear program.
As a former head of the Northern Command,
Gantz is also well-versed in Hizbullah and Syria, and he was instrumental in
leading the rehabilitation of the IDF ground forces following the 2006
One of the first steps Gantz will need to take is to stabilize the
IDF, which has gone through a traumatic few months with the attempt by Barak to
appoint Galant as the IDF’s 20th chief of General Staff.
appointment was nixed last week by Attorney-General Yehuda
Upon leaving office in November, Gantz did not hide his
disappointment at losing the post.
“It is not a secret that I wanted to
be the chief of staff, and it is no secret that someone else got the job,” he
said. “I wish him the best of luck.”
Ashkenazi showed Gantz the so-called
“Galant Document,” which police have determined was forged by former IDF officer
Boaz Harpaz, before it was revealed in the press in August.
One of the
lines in the document called for the launching of a “negative campaign” against
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