Israel names new military chief of staff

Jerusalem: Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon Saturday evening appointed Major General Gadi Eizenkot as the 21st chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

A statement by Ya’alon’s office said the appointment received the approval of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Xinhua reported.

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Major General Yair Golan, who until recently headed the IDF’s Northern Command, which oversees forces positioned along the Syrian and Lebanese frontiers, has been appointed as the next deputy chief of staff, according to the statement.

It said the decision to appoint General Eizenkot to the military’s top post was preceded by a series of meetings between Ya’alon and Netanyahu in recent weeks, and that the latter had personally interviewed the leading contenders.

Ya’alon also held consultations with the incumbent chief of staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, and former top military officials before making his final decision.

“The choice was between excellent, suitable and experienced candidates. I believe that Gen. Eizenkot is the right man at this time to lead the IDF in the coming years,” said the defence minister.

Noting that Israel in the coming years will face “the most complex” security challenges, Ya’alon said Eizenkot is the most suitable officer to lead the military in facing those challenges.