gershon hacohen 88.
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The appointment Monday of Brig.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen to head the military colleges puts to four the number of general staff members who not only went to the same high school, but were in the same class.
Hacohen, whose division bore the brunt of the evacuation of Jewish residents of Gush Katif this summer, is a graduate of Nativ Meir yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Three of his fellow classmates are already major-generals. These are OC Central Command Ya'ir Naveh, OC Manpower Elazar Stern and President of the Military Court of Appeals Yishai Bar. While the rest are all still religiously observant, Hacohen, who rose through the ranks of the armored corps, is not.
The four have all noted the unusual coincidence. They attribute their sense of mission to the fact that they were drafted in the immediate wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
While at Nativ Meir, they were barred from participating in any of the political rallies so prevalent at the time. At least two other classmates retired as colonels.
Hacohen will be promoted to major-general and replace Maj.-Gen. Eyal Ben-Reuven, who will retire from the military.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz also announced Monday a second promotion, finalizing the make up of the IDF brass.
The other appointment was Brig.-Gen. Meir Kalifi, currently head of the Doctrine and a Training Department. He will be promoted as a second major-general in the Ground Forces Services.
The unusual command structure there is the result of the growing responsibilities of the Ground Forces Services, which has basically become part of the army. Kalifi will be responsible for doctrine, training and qualification of all ground forces. He will be subordinate to Ground Forces Services commander Maj.-Gen. Benny Ganz.
The appointments were approved by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. Kalifi, a paratrooper, is said to be close to Mofaz, under whom he served most of his military career.
The appointments end the shuffle of the general staff made under Halutz. It will likely lead to the retirement of a number of senior officers, beginning with Maj.-Gen. Yiftah Ron-Tal.