IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz announced Sunday that Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel will serve as the next commander of the Israel Air Force. The appointment was approved by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Eshel, who currently serves as head of the IDF Planning Directorate will replace Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan when he steps down after four years in the post in April.The appointment of the next IAF commander has been embroiled in controversy in recent weeks amid reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was pressuring Gantz to tap his military adviser Maj.- Gen. Yohanan Locker, a former deputy IAF commander, for the post.
The appointment of a new air force chief traditionally makes headlines, but this time it is particularly intriguing due to the possibility the next commander will be ordered by the government to oversee a strike on Iran’s well-protected and distant atomic infrastructure.
Eshel served as deputy commander of the IAF from 2006 to 2008 and before that was head of the IAF’s Air Wing, commander of the Tel Nof Base and head of the IAF Operations Division.