The government voted Sunday to approve the appointment of Major General Yoav Galant as the next IDF Chief of Staff. One minister, Michael Eitan (Likud) voted against the nomination, because of allegations that Galant improperly took over land adjacent to his private home. The allegations were the subject of legal proceedings and a court found that Galant did nothing illegal.
Another minister, former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, did not take part in the vote. According to Voice of Israel government-run radio, he left the cabinet session demonstratively before the vote but gave no reason for this action.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak presented the nomination to the ministers, and told them: “In accordance with Basic Law: The Army I have decided to recommend to the government to appoint Major-General Yoav Galant as the 20th IDF Chief of General Staff, in place of Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi whose term ends on February 14, 2011.”
Barak complimented Ashkenazi, saying that he deserved high appreciation for his achievements in rehabilitating the IDF after the Second Lebanon War. Among other things, he said, Ashkenazi “led a momentum of training in both the conscripted army and the reserve army” as well as “a return to the basics of the military profession.”
"The choice was not easy,” he said, regarding Ashkenazi's replacement. “All of the candidates are deserving, talented, highly experienced and respected individuals. The Nation of Israel can be proud of its commanders.” After a protracted process that involved consultation with top IDF commanders, both active and retired, Barak explained, “I reached the conclusion that the best and most fitting candidate is Major General Yoav Galant. Yoav Galant is a commander with unusual courage and a proven record in command and leadership of people, even in the toughest of challenges. Throughout the years Yoav stood out within the select group of field commanders.”