Liberman faces possible delay in appointing next IDF chief of staff

Petition filed against two committee members over possible conflict of interest

August 15, 2018 18:46
2 minute read.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman  Thursday, August 2.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman Thursday, August 2.. (photo credit: MINISTRY OF DEFENSE SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)


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The appointment of the next IDF chief of staff might be delayed due to appeals filed against the eligibility of two committee members who vet candidates for the military’s most senior position.

According to a report on Channel 2 aired Tuesday evening, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman informed the head of the Senior Appointment Advisory Committee, Eliezer Goldberg, that he had narrowed his choice of candidates down to two individuals and would submit their names in the coming days.

He was then informed that petitions had been filed against committee members Yaakov Nagel and Iris Stark due to possible conflicts of interests. Hearings in the Supreme Court against Stark and Nagel – a former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – will likely begin next month.

The current IDF chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, is set to step down in less than six months after serving close to four years in the post.

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IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot visits troops taking part in the two-week long drill in northern Israel. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

The selection process is based on recommendations by the military advocate-general. It consists of six stages, with Liberman consulting with Eisenkot and former senior officials such as prime ministers, defense ministers, chiefs of staff and others.

Liberman began the procedure for selecting Eisenkot’s successor last week and has interviewed four candidates: Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi; Kochavi’s predecessor, Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan; former Operations Directorate head, Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon; and former head of the Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir.

Kochavi is considered to be the front-runner.

The candidates will now be vetted by the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee to ensure they meet all the requirements and are qualified to serve as chief of staff. Liberman will then consult again with Netanyahu in order to choose the top candidate before bringing the recommendation before the cabinet for approval.

The Channel 2 report did not name Liberman’s top two candidates; however it did say the appointments could be delayed until at least the end of the petition’s hearing.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the petitioners, there could be further delays, as replacements for Nagel and Stark would need to be found.

Other appointments that could be affected by the petition include the next Bank of Israel governor and the next Israel Police commissioner.

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