Current IDF operations chief tapped to lead Military Intelligence

In irregular move, Central Command head to be moved to new role after less than a year; Gaza Division commander to lead Southern Command

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva during a ceremony in June 2014. (Israel Defense Forces)
Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva during a ceremony in June 2014. (Israel Defense Forces)

The head of the IDF Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, was named the next commander of Military Intelligence on Thursday as part of a series of fresh promotions and appointments in the IDF General Staff, the military said.

Haliva will replace Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman, who has led the outfit since 2018.

This nomination was one of six announced on Thursday, based on recommendations by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi that were approved by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the military said.

This shakeup in the General Staff will be rolled out in the coming months.

In an irregular move, Kohavi decided to move the current head of the Central Command, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai, to the IDF Ground Forces after less than a year in that position. Yadai, who previously led the IDF Home Front Command during the initial outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, was named the head of the Central Command last summer, some seven months ago. Generals typically remain in a given role for at least two to three years, with the exception of the heads of the Air Force and Navy, who generally stay in their positions for closer to five years.

The head of the IDF Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai, left, speaks to a military delegation preparing to leave for Brazil to perform search and rescue operations in the country after a dam burst, on January 27, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

The reason for this move was a need to fill the role of IDF Ground Forces chief, which is generally reserved for a former head of a regional command. As the current head of the Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Amir Baram, requested to stay in his position; and the head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, was already named the next IDF deputy chief of staff, that effectively left Yadai as the only option.

Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, the current defense attache to the United States, will return to Israel and take over for Yadai as head of the Central Command.

Haliva will be replaced as the head of IDF Operations by Brig. Gen. Oded Basyuk, the current commander of the military’s Planning Division. Basyuk will receive a promotion to major general for the role.

Brig. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, the head of the Gaza Division and a former military secretary to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will take over as head of the Southern Command for Halevi. Toledano too will be promoted to the rank of major general.

The chief of staff of the Israeli Navy, Brig. Gen. David Salma, will take over as head of the Navy for Maj. Gen. Eli Sharvit, who has served in the role since 2016.

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