Gen. Hertzi Halevy (r.) and Major-Gen. Eyal Zamir (l.)
Gen. Hertzi Halevy (r.) and Major-Gen. Eyal Zamir (l.) IDF spokesman

After receiving a green light from the Attorney-General, Gali Baharav-Miara, regarding the appointment of a new IDF Chief-of-Staff during an election campaign, Defense Minister Benny Gantz has announced his short-list of candidates for the position.

The two candidates are Major-General Eyal Zamir and General Hertzi Halevy.

In the coming week, the Defense Minister will begin consultations with former Defense Ministers and Chiefs-of-Staff in order to advance the process of appointing the successor to current IDF Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kochavi.

According to estimates, Hertzi Halevy is the leading candidate. He currently serves as Deputy Chief-of-Staff and in the past has been Commander of the General Staff Reconnaissance, Commander of the Southern Command, Chief of the Armed Forces, Commander of the Inter-Armial College for Command and Staff, Commander of the Galilee Region, and Chief of the Operations Division.

Shortly before the announcement of early elections, Gantz had asked the Attorney-General for her position on whether it is possible, from a legal standpoint, to continue the process of appointing a new Chief-of-Staff that had commenced several months prior.

The Attorney-General asked the Defense Minister to examine the possibility of making a unique exception and extending the term of the current Chief-of-Staff to beyond the usual four-years period, in view of the unique laws applicable during the tenure of a transitional government.

After considering the matter, Gantz decided to opt to continue to advance the process of appointing the Chief-of-Staff. The Attorney-General then examined the matter and concluded that there was no legal impediment to advancing the appointment process, and that it was advisable, for the benefit of the effective functioning of the IDF, to ensure that a new Chief-of-Staff entered his position as soon as possible.

One of the reasons given by the Attorney-General for permitting a senior appointment to be made during an election period was the fact the the position of IDF Chief-of-Staff is a professional and not a political appointment, and the Chief-of-Staff is involved in implementing government decisions and not crafting them.

Also taken into account was the announcement by the Defense Minister that he would hold an orderly consultation process, before making a decision on the candidate he would choose to eventually bring to the approval of the government, with the Prime Minister, with past Defense Ministers and with chiefs of staff.

Responding to the Attorney-General's decision, Gantz said, "I welcome the responsible decision of the Attorney-General to allow progress to be made in the process of appointing a new Chief-of-Staff. The appointment of a Chief-of-Staff in a timely and orderly process is of great importance in terms of the IDF's command continuity and the security of the State of Israel, which faces a wide range of security needs and challenges."