(photo credit: IDF [file])
Suspense is high in the IDF ahead of expected decisions this week by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi regarding a round of new appointments within the General Staff.
Defense officials said that disagreements between Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been holding up a final decision on the identities of generals who will be promoted to a number of posts, including that of deputy chief of general staff and head of Military Intelligence.
Last week, Ashkenazi and Barak finished a round of interviews with candidates to replace current Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel, who is scheduled to retire this summer. They included OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant and the military attachÃ© in Washington, Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
Ashkenazi is said to favor Eizenkot, who, like the chief of general staff, served in the Golani Brigade. Barak is said to favor Gantz, from the Paratroop Brigade.
Both generals - who were slightly tainted by their involvement in the Second Lebanon War - are competing against Galant, who oversaw the successful operation in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
Close associates have said that if Galant fails to become either deputy chief of general staff or the next head of Military Intelligence (MI) after Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin retires later this year, he might leave the IDF.
If Eizenkot gets the deputy post, Gantz is seen as a potential candidate for MI, as is OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni, who served as military secretary to former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
Ashkenazi also needs to appoint new heads of the Home Front Command, Southern Command, Central Command, Northern Command and Ground Forces Command.