Benny Gantz Approved as Israel's New Army Chief

Turkel Committee affirms Gantz's suitability after the first candidate for the position, Yoav Galant, was disqualified for the position on Tuesday.

The Turkel Committee announced Wednesday night that Major General Benny Gantz is sufficiently qualified to serve as Israel Defense Forces chief of staff and is expected to assume the position after current Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi steps down on Monday.

The committee said in a statement, that "Gantz is an extremely worthy candidate for the position of IDF chief of staff," rebuffing allegations against him regarding the 2000 death of a Border Policeman in Nablus and the 2005 receipt of an unusually large payment from the army for personal moving expenses.

Benny Ganz - Ilan Assayag
Ilan Assayag

Major General Yoav Galant was meant to assume the position of IDF chief this month, however, he was disqualified for the position on Tuesday due to allegations against him regarding the seizure of public land near his home in Moshav Amikam. This led to a scramble to find a new candidate for the position.

After the failure of Galant's appointment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a significantly more active role in the selection process for a new candidate to ensure no further mishap.

In light of the Turkel Committee's decision, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and PM Netanyahu will in all likelihood approve his appointment in the cabinet next week on Sunday, the day before current IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi ends his term.

The appointment of Gantz is considered a more practical one, because it will not necessitate any drastic changes in the IDF executive hierarchy. Gantz, who has already been deputy chief in the past and is on leave, can assume the role relatively easily.

This smooth and near immediate transition makes the selection of Gantz exponentially more attractive to Netanyahu. However, many high ranking IDF members and members of cabinet have endorsed Major General Gadi Eizenkot, claiming he is a more qualified candidate.