Daily Israel Report

Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz Officially Installed as IDF Chief of Staff

Newly-installed IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz links Western Wall ceremony to weekly Torah portion in acceptance speech.
By David Lev
First Publish: 2/15/2011, 9:38 AM / Last Update: 2/15/2011, 9:59 AM

IDF Spokesperson

Newly-installed IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz began his tenure at the Western Wall (Kotel) in an investiture ceremony on Monday afternoon. He, along with outgoing Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Gabi Ashkenazi, conducted prayers for the welfare of Israel and the Jewish people, and placed notes in the Kotel.

Gantz's wife and four children, as well as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who raised Gantz's rank to that of Lt.-General, the highest rank in the IDF.

In his speech at the ceremony, Gantz thanked Netanyahu and Barak for their faith in his leadership abilities, and mentioned that this week was an appropriate one for him to take on the job, as the Torah portion that was read last Sabbath, Tetzaveh, discusses the investiture of Aaron as High Priest.

Gantz, the IDF's 20th Chief of Staff, was born in 1959 in Kfar Ahim, and has been serving in the IDF since 1977. During his career, Gantz has served as Commander of the Air Force's Shaldag Unit, Commander of the Paratrooper Brigade, Commander of the Reserves Division in the Northern Command, Commander of the Lebanon Liaison Unit, Judea and Samaria Commander, and later Northern Commander, as well as Israel's military attaché in the United States and Deputy Chief of the General Staff.

Pictured is Gantz's official photo, which will now be hung in government buildings and schools, along with the photos of the Prime Minister and President, and, in religious schools, the Chief Rabbis. As Gantz is tall, the IDF is said to be searching for tall individuals to be a part of his security team – the better to shield him from danger in public venues.