Defense Minister Amir Peretz announced Thursday the appointment of former IDF deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi as the new director-general of the Defense Ministry. Ashkenazi competed against current Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz for the top IDF position last June, but lost to Halutz. Since then, he has been involved in a security-related business abroad. Outgoing Dir.-Gen. Ya'acov Toren said in a statement released to the media that "Defense Minister Amir Peretz explained to me shortly after his appointment as defense minister that he planned to appoint one of his own men to the position. In order not to impair workflow at the ministry, we agreed that I would continue my job until the completion of several crucial projects. In the coming days, I will finish my job and pass on the responsibilities to my successor."