IDF chief taps new head for embattled Ground Forces
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IDF chief taps new head for embattled Ground Forces

In first round of appointments since beginning his tenure, Aviv Kohavi names new head of Northern Command, defense attache to US and commander of military colleges

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

Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, head of the IDF Northern Command, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)
Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, head of the IDF Northern Command, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Chief Aviv Kohavi on Sunday named current the Northern Command chief, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, to lead the military’s Ground Forces, which are currently under increased scrutiny with allegations that they are not prepared for war.

Kohavi appointed three other major general-level positions in the Israel Defense Forces — his first senior staffing decisions since taking over as army chief last month.

Strick will succeed Maj. Gen. Kobi Barak as head of the beleaguered Ground Forces. Barak has served in the position since 2016.

To replace Strick, Kohavi named rising star Maj. Gen. Amir Baram as the next head of the IDF Northern Command, which defends both the Lebanese and Syrian borders.

Maj. Gen. Amir Baram, commander of the army’s Northern Corps and head of the IDF military colleges, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

Baram, 49, has moved quickly up the ranks, being promoted from colonel to brigadier general in 2013 and up to major general in late 2017.

Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, the current commander of the Gaza Division, will be promoted in rank to major general and sent to the United States as the next military attache in Washington, DC, replacing Maj. Gen. Mickey Edelstein.

Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, commander of the army’s Gaza Division, speaks to soldiers in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

Brig Gen. Itai Virov, who previously served as chief of staff of the Ground Forces, will also be promoted to major general and will take over for Baram as the head of military colleges.

The appointments were approved by Prime and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The officers are due to begin their new positions in the coming months, the army said.

The IDF Ground Forces has faced significant criticism in recent months, with former military ombudsman Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick claiming that the IDF in general and it in particular were not prepared for a full-scale war.

Kohavi, who took over as head of the IDF last month, has identified improving the Ground Forces as a central focus of the upcoming year, the army said.

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