Israel chooses a new chief of staff for its army

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced his intention to appoint Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi as chief of the Army General Staff.

According to a statement from the Defense Minister’s office published on Sunday, the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee will discuss in the coming days the appointment of Halevy, who was deputy chief of staff before the matter was referred to the government.

According to the statement, Gantz “concluded… that Halevi was the most appropriate officer in terms of his extensive operational experience in a variety of theaters of operations, his leadership abilities, and his positions on various military issues.”

Halevi was born in Jerusalem in 1967 into a religious family, and was recruited as a paratrooper in 1985 before advancing through various leadership positions, reaching the most elite “Sarit Matkal” unit in the army in 1993.

In 2001, Halevi was appointed unit commander and remained in his post for three years, his rise through the ranks continuing in the army until his appointment as head of military intelligence in 2014 and as head of Southern Command in 2018.

Halevi has degrees in philosophy and business administration from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master’s degree in resource management from the National Defense University in Washington, according to the IDF.

Halevi is married with four children, and lives in the Kfar Ha-Oranim settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, for his part, welcomed the decision to nominate Halevy, describing her as “dignified and natural.”

“I am sure that he will lead the IDF to many important achievements,” he said in a statement.

Halevi is scheduled to take up the new role in February 2023, Israel’s Defense Ministry confirmed to AFP.