Appointment of next IDF chief may be delayed
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Appointment of next IDF chief may be delayed

Israeli TV says work of vetting committee for senior positions ‘neutralized’ because of High Court petitions questioning eligibility of two of its members

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), then-defense minister Moshe Ya'alon (L) and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot at a swearing in ceremony for Eisenkot at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on February 16, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), then-defense minister Moshe Ya'alon (L) and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot at a swearing in ceremony for Eisenkot at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on February 16, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The appointment of the Israeli military’s next chief of staff may be delayed, Hadashot news reported Tuesday, due to legal appeals against the eligibility of two members of the committee tasked with vetting candidates for top positions.

According to the report, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman recently informed Eliezer Goldberg, head of the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee and a former Supreme Court justice, that he would submit the names of his two preferred candidates for the next chief of the Israel Defense Forces in the coming days.

However, Goldberg was said to tell Liberman there was no point in doing so, as the committee is currently “neutralized” by petitions to the High Court, challenging the eligibility of a pair of its members.

The petitions claim committee members Yaakov Nagel and Iris Stark may have conflicts of interest. Nagel is a former national security adviser to Netanyahu, and Stark is reported to have various business interests ties to a number of government ministries.

Former Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Goldberg in February 2013. (Miriam Alster/ Flash 90)

Earlier this month, Liberman began the process of selecting a new chief of staff to replace Gadi Eisenkot, whose term ends in December. Liberman, as defense minister, is legally tasked with selecting the next IDF chief for government approval.

Candidates for chief of staff, as well as other senior positions such as police commissioner and Bank of Israel governor, must by law be vetted by the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee.

According to Hadashot news, the petitions will not be heard by the High Court until September and it remains unclear how long it will take for a ruling to be handed down. If the court rules in favor of the petitioners, any government appointments are expected to be furthered delayed as replacements are sought for Nagel and Stark.

Yaakov Nagel (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

With the government also set to soon select a new police commissioner and governor of the Bank of Israel, Hadashot news noted the appointment of any potential candidates for these posts could be delayed as well.

The report did not name the two candidates for IDF chief whose names Liberman plans to submit to the appointments committee.

Liberman has interviewed four candidates for the post: Deputy Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi; former deputy of chief of staff Yair Galon; Eyal Zamir, until recently commander of the Southern Command; and Nitzan Alon, who formerly served as commander of the Central Command and is currently a project manager on Iran.

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