Eisenkot aide named new army spokesman
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Eisenkot aide named new army spokesman

Col. Ronen Manelis, currently assistant to IDF chief, set to take over for Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz as military flack

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

From left, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, outgoing IDF Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz and incoming spokesperson Col. Ronen Manelis in an undated photograph. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
From left, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, outgoing IDF Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz and incoming spokesperson Col. Ronen Manelis in an undated photograph. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot named his assistant, Col. Ronen Manelis, as the army’s new spokesperson on Tuesday, the military said.

In the coming weeks, Manelis, 37, will receive a promotion to brigadier general and take over for current IDF Spokesperson Moti Almoz, who has served in the position since 2013, the army said.

Last month, Almoz was promoted to the rank of major general and took over the army’s Manpower Directorate, after the previous commander, Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolanski, stepped down suddenly.

Almoz, 49, has been serving as both head of the Manpower Directorate and IDF spokesperson for the past month, until the military could find a suitable replacement for him in the latter role.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, center, visits a military exercise in the Golan Heights on August 25, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, center, visits a military exercise in the Golan Heights on August 25, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

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.

From left, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot speaks to incoming IDF spokesperson Col. Ronen Manelis and former head of the Southern Command Maj. Gen. (res.) Sami Turgeman in an undated photograph. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
From left, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot speaks to incoming IDF spokesperson Col. Ronen Manelis and former head of the Southern Command Maj. Gen. (res.) Sami Turgeman in an undated photograph. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

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 spokesperson-to-be 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.

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