Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot are expected to choose a new chief military advocate general shortly to replace incumbent Danny Efroni, in keeping with Eisenkot’s desire to avoid last-minute appointments. Efroni is due to end his term in the fall.
Unlike Efroni, who bears the rank of major general, the next chief military prosecutor will be a brigadier general.
Sources in the Israel Defense Forces mention three likely candidates for the position. The two frontrunners are Col. Sharon Afek, a former deputy military advocate-general and until recently a department commander at the IDF Command and Staff College, and “A.”, a former senior military jurist who in recent years has been the Shin Bet security service’s legal adviser. Another possibility is Col. Eli Bar-On, a deputy military advocate general who in the past was the IDF’s legal adviser for Judea and Samaria.
By law, the chief of general staff does the research and submits his recommendation to the defense minister, who gives final approval. In reality, because of the sensitivity of the position, which deals with numerous social and diplomatic issues, the defense minister is usually deeply involved in the choice of military advocate general. The defense minister commonly consults with the attorney general on this nomination, although the attorney general’s approval is not required.
Ya’alon has already agreed to Eisenkot’s recommendation to keep the rank of the military advocate general at brigadier general, after Efroni was promoted to major general in 2012 because former Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who appointed him, had promised him that rank.
Eisenkot is trying to reduce the number of senior-ranking officers. This will be the third major general’s position to be eliminated on the General Staff, which will be reduced to 19 generals, from 22.