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Who will be Israel’s next national security adviser?

The national security adviser to serve under Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett will be appointed in coordination with the designated foreign minister, Yair Lapid, and possibly even in coordination with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, The Times of Israel has learned.

In an effort to distance themselves from the conduct of Benjamin Netanyahu, Lapid and Bennett are making a public effort to convey that they are coordinated on these issues and will not engage in political feuds over these appointments. According to political sources, the issue of the next head of the National Security Council should not create a rift between them.

According to sources who are aware of the process, Bennett is inclined to look for a high-profile candidate who served in the elite Sayeret Matkal, the same IDF commando unit in which he served. One of the candidates who fits the bill is Colonel (ret.) Lior Lotan, the former head of the Captives and Missing Persons Unit under Netanyahu.

Lior Lotan (YouTube screenshot)

Another option is to appoint a former national security adviser to capitalize on their experience, such as Maj. Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, who served in the role under the tenure of former prime minister Ariel Sharon. The national security adviser may serve as an envoy to Washington to conduct sensitive talks.

There are also discussions on the possibility of appointing a former head of the  IDF Research Department to the position, such as Brigadier General (ret.) Eli Ben-Meir or Brigadier General (ret.) Dror Shalom. Ben-Meir’s personal background may appeal to Bennett, as his father is the founder of Yeshivat Shvut Israel in Efrat.

Giora Eiland, the IDF’s former head of Strategic Planning, right, after holding a press briefing at Israel’s Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, July 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Former heads of IDF Planning Directorate (AGAT) are also among the candidates, including Maj. Gen. (ret.) Nimrod Sheffer and Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amir Abuhalfia. Sheffer served as CEO of the Israel Aerospace Industries until about a year ago. Abuhalfia is currently on leave from the IDF.

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