IDF chief of staff-designate Hertzi Halevi on Thursday announced he was appointing Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari to replace Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav as the next IDF spokesperson.
Hagari, who will be the first IDF spokesperson to emerge from the navy, served as a top aide to former IDF chiefs Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot.
He also was a commander at multiple levels of the elite Israeli Navy Seals unit, Shayetet 13, which meant that his identity was kept secret for most of his career.
Halevi to take office later this month
Halevi takes office in mid-January, replacing current Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi. New IDF chiefs frequently appoint their own spokespersons, given the sensitivity of the issue.
It is also possible that Halevi decided to replace Kochav because elements of the new Israeli government have turned their fire on Kochav for sternly condemning an IDF soldier who illegally beat a left-wing activist in Hebron, along with some other political controversies.
Despite a court martial finding the soldier’s conduct to be clearly illegal, some politicians came to the soldier’s defense and blamed Kochav for the speed and intensity of his condemnation.
It is unusual for the IDF to announce a new spokesperson before the next IDF chief even takes office – though the announcement also said that Hagari would not formally replace Kochav for approximately another two months.
The appointment was also approved by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.