(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant announced Sunday his intention to remain in the IDF despite being passed over by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi in the race to become the next deputy chief of General Staff.
Galant met with Ashkenazi on Sunday afternoon and said he would like to remain in the the army until the race begins to replace Ashkenazi, who will finish his four-year term in 2011. Galant will remain in the Southern Command.
On Friday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Ashkenazi decided that Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz will be the next deputy chief of staff. The two other contenders for the post were OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, who will remain in his position for another year, and Galant.
Ashkenazi and Barak also decided to appoint Brig.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi as the next head of Military Intelligence after Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin completes his term next year. Kochavi, a former commander of the Gaza Division, is currently head of the IDF Operations Directorate.
Earlier Sunday, Barak defended the decision to appoint Gantz as IDF deputy chief of General Staff, saying at the opening of Sunday's cabinet meeting in Beersheba that the appointment was made after careful consideration.
"This decision was made in good judgment, in order to ensure the IDF has a good deputy chief of General Staff and that in the future we will have several candidates for chief of staff," Barak said.
In an interview with Israel Radio on Sunday, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed his hope that Galant would not retire, saying that "action must be taken to ensure this excellent major general remains in the army."
Over the weekend, dozens of senior military officials had called Galant and asked him not to retire.
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