Barak chooses Yoav Galant as next IDF chief of staff
Gov't to authorize appointment next week; defense minister withholds IDF officer promotions; report: Ashkenazi is friends with top "Galant Document" suspect.
By JPOST.COM STAFFDefense Minister Ehud Barak announced on Sunday that OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen.Yoav Galant will be the 20th chief of General Staff, succeeding Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who is scheduled to step down in February.RELATED:Who is Yoav Galant?MKs praise Galant, slam Barak's timingBarak resumes selection process for next chief of staffAshkenazi on Galant affair: Great damage done to IDFThe announcement ended weeks of speculation and came as police continued to investigate the so-called “Galant Document,” which was allegedly forged by a former lieutenantcolonel close to Ashkenazi.Barak plans to bring his recommendation to the cabinet next week for final approval.While Galant had been the front-runner in the race to replace Ashkenazi, it was widely assumed that following the controversy set off by the Galant Document, Barak would wait to announce the identity of the next chief of staff. On Thursday evening, he received permission from Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to resume the selection process, and Barak decided to announce his decision in an effort to stabilize the IDF.Barak said that Galant, 51, who previously served as former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s military secretary, had vast experience in the field as well as “proven leadership skills and the ability to lead the IDF as it deals with the many challenges this country faces.”None of the other candidates for the top IDF post announced their plans, but at least one – Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz – was assumed to be planning to retire.The other main candidates – OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen.Gadi Eizenkot, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi and the IDF’s attaché in the United States, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni – are expected to remain in the service with the hope of being appointed Galant’s deputy.Ashkenazi’s future is also cast in doubt. After Barak made clear that issues like senior appointments will be determined by the next chief of staff and not by Ashkenazi, and now that Galant has been named his successor, the current chief of staff might feel compelled to announce an early retirement.Barak said he planned to continue working with Ashkenazi, who would enjoy his full support for the remainder of his tenure.“Gabi Ashkenazi is one of the IDF’s best commanders, [a commander] who has successfully led the rebuilding of the military and the implementation of the necessary lessons from the Second Lebanon War,” the defense minister said.Ashkenazi called Galant and congratulated him on Barak’s decision. Ashkenazi offered Galant his full support and called on the other candidates for the position to remain in the military for the benefit of the IDF and the nation.
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