Defense Minister: IDF Chief Will Not Retire Early

Earlier in week, Ehud Barak named Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant as the next IDF Chief of Staff, fueling reports that current IDF Chief Gabi Ashkenazi would retire early.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday that Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi would not retire early, despite media reports that said otherwise.

Earlier this week, Barak ended weeks of speculation by naming Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant as the next chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, and former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi.
Tomer Appelbaum

Barak said he would ask the cabinet to approve the appointment at its weekly meeting on August 29, saying he had consulted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before making his final decision on the replacement for Gabi Ashkenazi.

After meeting with Ashkenazi on Tuesday, Barak said he has full faith that the IDF chief will continue to fulfill his duty until his final day.

Barak commented on the professionalism with which Ashkenazi has fulfilled his role and said that both of them will work together with Galant to diffuse the tensions that have surrounded finding a replacement for Ashkenazi.

Before his meeting with Barak, Ashkenazi met with Galant for the first time to discuss the process of Galant taking up his new position and how they could make a smooth transition.

Barak met with GOC Northern Command Gadi Eizenkot later on Tuesday, in a bid to convince him to stay in the IDF despite not being promoted to Chief of Staff.

Although Eizenkot reportedly told close associates that he did not intend to serve under Galant if he were appointed chief of staff, Barak and Galant are highly invested in him staying due to what is considered to be his invaluable wealth of experience on the Lebanese border.

If Eizencott stays, he is expected to be promoted to the role of IDF intelligence chief or deputy chief of staff.

Eizenkot associates believe he will take his time in making a decision weather or not to stay in the IDF.