Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz Expected to Be Named New IDF Chief

Barak is due to make the announcement on Sunday; Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant was to assume the position, but was disqualified due to allegations regarding seizure of public land near his home.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will announce on Sunday that the new candidate for the position of Israel Defense Forces chief of staff will be Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, political and military sources said after speaking with Barak over the weekend.

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 has led to a scramble to find a new candidate for the position.

Benny Ganz - Ilan Assayag
Ilan Assayag

After the failure of Galant's appointment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a significantly more active role in the selection process for a new candidate to ensure no further mishap. He discussed the issue with Barak over the weekend.

Barak and Netanyahu intend on presenting the appointment of Gantz before the Turkel Committee next week, and may even approve his appointment in the cabinet next Sunday, February 13, a day after 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.