Sources close to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Friday that the prime minister would appoint a new chief of General Staff early next week, Army Radio reported. The sources added that Olmert would work in coordination with Defense Minister Amir Peretz and conduct a "thorough and proper" process.
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Earlier Friday, sources across the political spectrum were estimating that Olmert would delay the appointment under the assumption that the defense minister would stand down from his post in a matter of weeks.
However, Peretz emphasized Friday that he would be the one to appoint the next IDF chief of General Staff in coordination with Olmert.
Also, Army Radio reported that during a closed meeting, Peretz said that he would not "give Olmert the pleasure of seeing me resign."
Reportedly, former prime minister Ehud Barak advised Olmert Thursday not to hasten the appointment of chief of staff, but instead to wait and "consider the subject well."
In contrast, National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer on Friday pushed for a rapid appointment of Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz's successor and without regard for the changes likely to occur within the Defense Ministry. "There are three excellent candidates," said Ben-Eliezer. "There is no need to delay the appointment."
Referring directly to Barak's proposal, Ben-Eliezer said: "If it was said by Barak, I don't accept it. I don't think the current problems will wait until the appointment of a [new] defense minister."