Southern Command head Halevi tapped to be next IDF deputy chief of staff

Former Military Intelligence commander beats out Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick of the Ground Forces for the position

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

IDF Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi was named the next IDF deputy chief of staff on Monday, the military said.

Halevi, a former head of Military Intelligence who currently leads the IDF Southern Command, was nominated for the position by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi. Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the recommendation.

Halevi will replace Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, who has served in the position for two years.

“Herzi is an officer with immense experience, who has carried out command and staff positions excellently throughout the IDF system,” Gantz said. “As someone who has known him for decades, I am confident that he will be an excellent deputy chief of staff.”

The defense minister thanked Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, commander of IDF Ground Forces, who was also a candidate for the position of deputy chief of staff.

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

“Yoel is an appreciated and accomplished officer, who has carried out field command and staff positions… I am sure he will continue to contribute to the IDF and to the State of Israel,” he said.

It was not immediately clear what Zamir, who is considered close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will do once his tenure ends. In the past deputy chiefs of staff have remained within the military to oversee special projects.

In the coming months, a number of other high-profile appointments are expected for the IDF General Staff. The heads of IDF Operations, Military Intelligence, Southern Command, and the Ground Forces are all due to leave their positions in the near future. Next year, the government will also have to decide if it will extend the tenure of Kohavi by an additional year.

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