Nehushtan replaces Shkedy, takes up IAF command

Says in ceremony "a dry analysis of reality shows a dynamic strategic environment filled with threats, dangers."

ido nehushtan 248.88 (photo credit: IDF )
ido nehushtan 248.88
(photo credit: IDF )
Israel is facing a number of operational challenges, threats and dangers, Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan said Tuesday as he took up his new post as the 16th commander of the Israel Air Force. Nehushtan took up his new post during a ceremony at the IAF's Ramat David Base in the North and during which he replaced Maj.-Gen. Elazar Shkedy, head of the air force for the past four years. "A dry analysis of the current reality shows a dynamic strategic environment that is filled with threats and dangers," Nehushtan said. "The regime in Iran combines poisonous rhetoric with real actions... while rejecting Israel's right to exist." A pilot with thousands of hours on his flight log, Nehushtan, who previously served as head of the IDF Planning Division, holds degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Northwestern University and Harvard University's Advanced Management Program. IDF officers said Nehushtan would face a number of challenges, most importantly preparing the IAF for the possibility that it may be tasked with attacking Iranian nuclear sites. He will also work to complete a number of acquisitions, including IAF plans to purchase a squadron of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, as well as Hercules transport aircraft. Nehushtan, 51, was chosen over deputy IAF commander Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel and the head of the IAF's Air Division, Brig.-Gen. Yohanan Locker. Nehushtan is highly regarded in the IDF and served as the deputy commander of the air force under then-chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz. In his last position, Nehushtan gained praise from throughout the defense establishment, particularly for his role in formulating the IDF's new multi-year plan, recently approved by the cabinet. During the Second Lebanon War, he gave daily briefings to foreign journalists and is known for his British-accented English. Shkedy said Israel had come a long way in its 60 years of existence, which were the basis for "our belief that we can face any test, push back any threat and deal successfully with any challenge."