The cabinet on Sunday approved the appointment of Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot as the 21st IDF chief of staff, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling him “the right man at the right time at the right place.”
Eisenkot is an experienced officer who can lead the IDF at a time of “great challenges” surrounding Israel, Netanyahu said.
Repeating what he said last Sunday, just hours before an air attack near Damascus widely attributed to Israel, but which Jerusalem neither confirmed nor denied, Netanyahu – in an obvious reference to the elections campaign – said that the challenges facing Israel are not taking a time-out.
“I am convinced that a determined, responsible and assertive leadership, together with an IDF under Gadi’s command, can overcome all the obstacles and face any challenge,” he said.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who recommended Eisenkot as chief of staff, welcomed the official appointment on Sunday. Eisenkot had completed every command role “both as a combat soldier in the field and in military headquarters,” he said.
Eisenkot has “immense operational and command experience,” Ya’alon said, adding that he brings with him “integrity, values, professionalism, independent thought, and a deep understanding. He is the most suitable commander to take over control of the IDF from the current chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, at a time when the threats are changing and the IDF is in the process of adapting itself to this new reality.”
Eisenkot appeared before the Turkel Commission on Tuesday and received approval for his appointment.
Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, who until recently was head of the IDF’s Northern Command, is set to become deputy of chief of staff. Eisenkot, 54, is scheduled to assume office in February, when Gantz completes his four-year term.
After announcing Eisenkot as his confirmed candidate at the end of November, Ya’alon said, “In the coming years, the State of Israel and the IDF will face the most complex security challenges in all sectors, along the borders, within them and far from them. Eisenkot is the most suitable officer to pick up the baton from Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and to lead the IDF in facing these challenges.”