IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot officially appointed his assistant, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, as the army’s new spokesperson on Thursday, the military said.
Manelis, 37, received a promotion from colonel in order to take over for former IDF spokesperson Moti Almoz, who has served in the position since 2013.
Manelis’s appointment was first announced in February. In the time since he has prepared to take over as the army’s new spokesperson.
Since January, Almoz has functioned both as spokesperson and as head of the army’s Manpower Directorate. Manelis’s appointment will free him to be able to focus solely on the latter, the army said.
The ceremony took place in the army’s Tel Aviv headquarters, known in Hebrew as the Kirya.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stressed the importance of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in remarks at the ceremony.
“In the past, decisive victory was always on the battlefield; now it is also in the media,” he said.
Eisenkot also noted the importance of “the public’s trust in the IDF” as a “central element in the army’s ability to stand up to challenges.”
Almoz, 49, was promoted to the rank of major general and took over the directorate in January after the previous commander, Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolanski, stepped down suddenly, after his classified laptop computer was stolen from his home.
The head of the Israel Navy’s operations department, whose name cannot be published for security reasons, will take over for Manelis as Eisenkot’s aide, the army said.
Manelis began his service in Military Intelligence and held a number of high-ranking positions in that unit, including as a department head in its famed Research Division and as the chief intelligence officer of the Gaza Division and the mysterious Depth Corps, which operates beyond Israel’s borders.
Manelis is seen as being particularly close to Eisenkot. He has served as the chief of staff’s assistant since 2015. He also served as Eisenkot’s chief of staff twice, once in 2006 while Eisenkot was head of the army’s Operations Directorate and right afterward when he was head of the IDF Northern Command.
The new spokesperson lives in the central Israeli town of Mazkeret Batya with his wife and two children.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Hebrew University and a master’s degree in political science from Tel Aviv University.