Israel’s navy got a new top sailor on Monday, as Maj. Gen. Eli Sharvit took over the position from the outgoing Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg in a ceremony at the army’s Tel Aviv headquarters.
During the event, Sharvit received both his major general’s rank and his commission to serve as the new head of the Israel Navy from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Sharvit previously served as head of Haifa naval base from 2011-2014, where Israel’s submarines, corvettes and a squadron of patrol boats dock, making it the largest and most important base in the navy. From 2014 until his appointment on Monday, he served as the chief of staff for the Israel Navy.
In December, the IDF announced that he would replace Rothberg, who has served as head of the navy since October 2011.
“Especially now, with the changing of the Middle East, naval superiority presents a critical element in securing the safety of the State of Israel,” Sharvit said during the ceremony.
“Ram, I want to thank you for the force that you are transferring to my command, a force that is connected to the IDF, one that has an outlook and a vision, an operational force that is significantly building its power,” he said.
Eisenkot thanked Rothberg for his years of service and praised Sharvit as the obvious, natural choice for the position.
“Before any appointment there is a dilemma, but with this appointment there was broad agreement as to who was the right man to take Ram’s command. Eli, I am sure that you know to take everything that’s been done [so far] and — with your experience — add further layers of capabilities to the navy in this period of time that is so full of challenges,” Eisenkot said.
Sharvit, 50, began his IDF service in the navy in 1985. He held positions almost exclusively in the navy’s missile boat fleet, before taking a position in the IDF’s Operations Brigade in 2007.
He returned to the navy in 2009 as head of the missile boat fleet.
On Monday, the IDF also announced 21 new high level appointments — pending the approval of the defense minister — including two female lieutenant colonels who will rise to the rank of colonel.
Lt. Col. Sherry Carmel was tapped to lead the Magal unit, which is in charge of the army’s basic training and squad commanders’ course (known in Hebrew as Course Makim). Lt. Col. Laura Nahum Ben-Hemo will also become a colonel, and will lead the education department in the Education and Youth Corps.
In addition, three armored brigades — the 7th “Storm” Brigade, the 188th “Lightning” Brigade and 460th “Sons of Light” Brigade — will receive new commanders.
Col. Roman Gofman will lead the 7th Brigade, Col. Gal Shochami will command the 188th Brigade and Col. Omer Moran will take over the 460th, the army said.
Col. Yisrael Shomer, who was investigated — and cleared of all charges — in the killing of a Palestinian teenager who threw a rock at his jeep earlier this year, will also be named the chief operations officer of the IDF’s Southern Command.