New Israeli military chief appointed

Israel govt approved Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant as the next chief of the Israel Defence Forces.

Last Updated: Sep 05, 2010, 22:05 PM IST

Jerusalem: The government on Sunday approved
the appointment of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, who led the
offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as the next chief
of the Israel Defence Forces.

Cleared of any wrongdoing by a police enquiry in a
recent scandal to smear his rivals for the top job, Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the nomination of Galant,
who currently is the head of southern command.

He will replace the current chief of staff, Lt. Gen.
Gabi Ashkenazi, early next year.

Netanyahu said the incoming IDF chief has "proven his
worth during his 33 years of military service at the IDF`s
frontlines."

"He`s proven himself to be a courageous fighter, an
excellent officer, and a responsible and serious battle
commander," Netanyahu said, adding that Galant picked up on a
legacy of "dedication and excellence " bequeathed by incumbent
IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi.

A police investigation cleared Galant of any
involvement in the smear campaign where documents maligning
his potential competitors were exposed by Channel 2 leading to
a media storm.

The documents has since been deemed as a fake, with a
former top IDF officer arrested on charges of forgery.

The cabinet also approved Barak`s proposal, according
to which Galant would serve for three years, giving the
defence minister the power to grant a fourth.

Galant has served in the past as the Military Attache
of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, head of the Gaza
Formation and head of the Naval Commando Unit.

PTI