Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the appointment of Major General Yair Naveh, 53, as IDF Deputy Chief of Staff. He was recommended for the post by the IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi.
Maj.-Gen. Naveh is religious, and will be the first kippah-wearing officer to achieve such a high position in the IDF. He will be replacing Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz, who is leaving the IDF. Maj.-Gen. Naveh will begin to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff in a few weeks' time.
An IDF spokesman said that the appointment was carried out in consultation with the designated Chief of Staff, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant.
Naveh retired from active service in the IDF in 2007, and since then has served as CEO of City Pass, the Jerusalem light railway franchisee. He agreed to return to active service even though he reportedly received no promises regarding his possible appointment as Chief of Staff after Maj.-Gen. Galant's term ends.
Naveh is a graduate of Netiv Meir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he studied alongside Major-General (res.) Elazar Stern and the current Chief Military Rabbi, Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz.
Naveh became an extremely controversial figure within the national religious public when he served as Central Command Head during the 2005 Disengagement. Four communities in Samaria were razed as part of that ill-fated attempt to appease Israel's Arab enemies. He was also in charge of Central Command during the bloody eviction of activists from the community of Amona.