Major Gen. Gadi Eizenkot to Be Appointed Next Deputy IDF Chief

Barak waited to announce the replacement of the deputy chief of staff apparently due to the State Comptroller's report regarding the Harpaz affair.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Major General Gadi Eizenkot will be appointed the next deputy Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, replacing Major Gen. Yair Naveh.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak began interviewing candidates a month ago, among them Eizenkot, who served as GOC of Northern Command, Major Gen. Avi Mizrachi, who served as GOC Central Command and Major Gen. Tal Russo, who serves as GOC of Southern Command.

According to the IDF Spokesperson, Barak decided on Eizenkot in recent days and is expected to soon notify the Chief of Staff and the other two candidates.

Barak prepared for three interviews, but waited to announce Naveh's replacement, apparently due to the State Comptroller's report regarding the Harpaz affair, which was recently completed and distributed this week to the central figures involved as well as to senior officials, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and current Chief of staff Benny Gantz.

The Harpaz affair refers to a forged document authored by a former IDF officer, Boaz Harpaz, in order to influence the choice of former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi's successor.

Eizenkot's name is mentioned in the affair after two of his close friends, Tamir Pardo (before being appointed Mossad chief) and Major Gen. (res.) and Colonel (res.) Gabi Siboni handed the document over to Channel 2. However, senior military officials decided, before even seeing the report, that it would not disqualify Eizenkot from the position of deputy chief of staff.

If Eizenkot is appointed, he will be the natural favorite to become the 21st chief of staff when Gantz's three-year term ends. Eizenkot is Gantz's preferred candidate, but the chief of staff recognizes the defense minister's right to influence the appointment of a deputy chief of staff.

Eizenkot, a former commander of the Golani Brigade, was Barak's military secretary in 1999-2000, when Barak served as prime minister and defense minister, and remained in this position under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He later commanded an armored division as head of the IDF's West Bank Division at the height of the second intifada, in 2003-2005 and served as head of operations during the Second Lebanon War. Eizenkot is currently on study leave.

Gadi Eizenkot. Many top defense officials see him as the most suitable candidate to succeed the chief of staff.Credit: Yaron Kaminsky

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