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Gantz argues appointing IDF chief during election season is justified but reason is classified

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at the Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv, June 29, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at the Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv, June 29, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz is pushing ahead with his attempt to appoint the next Israel Defense Forces chief of staff despite the fact that it’s now an election season.

Permanent appointments of senior officials — such as chief of police or the military — are not traditionally made during the terms of caretaker governments, and Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has said Gantz would need to present an “essential need” to justify the appointment.

Gantz’s office says a legal opinion formulated by the defense establishment’s attorney general has been sent to Baharav-Miara, in which Itai Ofir argues that it is possible to continue the process of appointing the next IDF chief of staff even during the election season.

Gantz’s office says the legal opinion is accompanied by a classified IDF operational summary and a classified political summary “regarding the security and political challenges Israel is currently facing.”

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