Kohavi said to vow to stop Smotrich interference in appointment of IDF generals

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi speaks at a conference of the Gazit Institute in Tel Aviv, November 4, 2022. (Gideon Markowicz/ Flash90)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi speaks at a conference of the Gazit Institute in Tel Aviv, November 4, 2022. (Gideon Markowicz/ Flash90)

Israel Defense Force chief of staff Aviv Kohavi is reportedly vowing to stop Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich from being able to nominate army generals for two key positions.

“I won’t allow any interference in the appointment of IDF generals. There is no possibility of this happening,” Kohavi tells confidants in closed conversations, according to Channel 13.

The Haaretz daily reports similar comments from Kohavi and says that incoming IDF chief of staff Herzi Halevi agrees with Kohavi.

According to a report yesterday, the incoming coalition parties have agreed to change the process for choosing the heads of the Civil Administration and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, also known as COGAT, two key Defense Ministry positions managing life for Palestinians and Israeli settlers in much of the West Bank.

Under the already-announced terms of a coalition deal between Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Smotrich, a junior minister embedded in the Defense Ministry by Religious Zionism will exercise control over COGAT and the Civil Administration, agencies under the ministry and the Israel Defense Forces which serve as the military liaison to the Palestinians and direct civilian life in Area C of the West Bank.

According to the report, that authority may also extend to appointing who leads the agencies, a task that currently falls to the head of the Israel Defense Forces, with the approval of the defense minister the only form of political intervention.

The Channel 13 report also quotes a senior defense official as saying that such a move “will break the chain of command and create anarchy.”

The IDF spokesperson department denies leaking the comments.

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