Daily Israel Report

Druze to Command Golani Brigade

"Apartheid state?" Col. Rassan Alian will be formally appointed once Defense Minister gives green light. Bennett: He's a brother.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/24/2013, 5:16 PM

Col. Rassan Alian
Col. Rassan Alian
IDF Spokesman

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, Chairman of the Bayit Yehudi faction, expressed satisfaction Thursday with the planned appointment of Col. Rassan Alian to head the Golani Brigade. Alian will be the first Druze to command the brigade.

The appointment will be formalized once Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon signs it.

"Rassan is a Druze," Bennett told his Facebook friends. "Rassan is also a brother: we went through Officers' Training Course in the same company at [the Officers Training School,] Bahad 1, we navigated and trained together, and he ran faster than I did, and I do not forgive him for that to this day."

Col. Alian fought in the Second Lebanon War as Commander of the Rotem Battalion and was wounded in the course of that war. Married and a father of one, he lives in Shefaram, in northern Israel.

Alian was commander of the Duchifat Battalion in the past, and was also Deputy Commander of the Golani Brigade, among other command positions he has been posted to.

The next commander of the Nahal Brigade will be Col. Uri Gordin, formerly commander of the elite infantry commando, Sayeret Matkal. Col. Yair Valensky will be the commander of the "Iron Tracks" tank formation, Col. Yoram Knafo will be commander of the Golan artillery formation, Col. Sasi Aka will be in charge of the Kela' David missile formation, which specializes in anti-tank warfare, and Col. Y will command the Active Defense Wing.  

The IDF will also soon have its first Bedouin tank commander, Cpl. Mustafa Tabash.

The appointments of members of minorities to sensitive military positions belie the oft-stated claim, by Israel's foes, that it practices "aparheid" toward its minorities.