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In first, female retired general tapped for next military ombudsman

Gantz nominates Brig. Gen. (res.) Rachel Tevet-Wiesel, his former adviser on women’s issues in the military, to serve as chief complaints officer in the Defense Ministry

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

Brig. Gen. (res.) Rachel Tevet-Wiesel, who was nominated to serve as the next military ombudsman on December 11, 2020. (Courtesy)
Brig. Gen. (res.) Rachel Tevet-Wiesel, who was nominated to serve as the next military ombudsman on December 11, 2020. (Courtesy)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz nominated Brig. Gen. (res.) Rachel Tevet-Wiesel for the post of military ombudsman on Friday, the first time that a women has been up for the position, his office said.

Tevet-Wiesel served as Gantz’s adviser on gender issues during his tenure as Israel Defense Forces chief of staff and became head of the National Road Safety Authority in 2017, shortly after her release from the military.

Before she can enter the position, Gantz must first discuss the matter with Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn and then bring the nomination for final approval by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Tevet-Wiesel would replace Brig. Gen. (res.) Eitan Dahan, who has served as IDF ombudsman — technically, chief complaints officer — in an acting capacity since 2018, when Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick left the position after a decade in the role.

The military ombudsman is responsible for receiving and investigating complaints from soldiers or their parents about alleged abuse, discrimination or denial of their rights. Each year, the chief complaints officer presents these cases in a report to the defense minister and the Knesset, outlining general trends and concerns.

In his final year in the position and since his retirement, Brick has taken this a step further, raising issues not only about the treatment of soldiers by their commanders but about the military’s overall management and preparedness for war. This led to a great deal of tension between him and some members of the IDF General Staff.

Tevet-Wiesel, who served in a number of legal positions in the IDF throughout her career, including as a judge in a military court, was chosen by a nomination committee appointed by Gantz earlier this year.

“Gantz spoke with Tevet-Wiesel and noted that alongside the operational challenges, the next greatest challenge facing the IDF is the personnel challenge. The ability to protect servicewomen and servicemen, and to protect all populations in the IDF, a cornerstone of the IDF’s ability to complete its mission,” the defense minister’s office said.

During the conversation, Gantz told Tevet-Wiesel: “I have no doubt that you will lead the chief complaints officer department in a way that will assist the IDF and soldiers, honestly, fairly and determinedly.”

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