The Israel Defense Forces' next military advocate general will be Col. (res. ) Danny Efroni, who until a year-and-a-half ago served as deputy military advocate general.
The announcement came yesterday after several months of debate between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, who seemed unable to agree on a candidate to replace Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit.
Mandelblit has held the position for seven years.
Efroni will be promoted to brigadier-general and will assume the position in about a month. The post is an important one, because its occupant can determine the course of army investigations and make decisions regarding ethical issues.
Unlike most of his predecessors, Efroni did not do all his military service in the military prosecutor's office; he began his army service in the Intelligence Corps, joining the military legal system after finishing his law degree.
Efroni served as the deputy chief military prosecutor, the chief military defense attorney and the attorney for the Northern Command before spending five years as Mandelblit's deputy.
Sources note that the decision to appoint Efroni was a compromise, as neither Barak nor Gantz was willing to accept the other's preferred candidate.
Gantz had wanted to appoint the current deputy military advocate general Col. Sharon Afek, but Barak wasn't interested in appointing anyone who had been close to former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
Gantz, in turn, refused to consider Barak's preferred candidate, Col. Avi Levy, head of the Central Command Military Court, and did not even include him on the short list of recommended candidates he submitted to Barak.
Mandelblit had conducted a stringent policy of opening investigations and submitting indictments in cases of soldiers and officers suspected of abusing Palestinian civilians.
But in the case of Lt. Col. Omri Borberg, who had ordered a soldier to threaten a bound Palestinian with his weapon, the High Court intervened and ordered a tougher indictment the one Mandelblit had originally submitted.
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