New IDF Security Head Causes Stir

Ripples went through the security echelon of the Israel Defense Force last week as a result of reports on the intended replacement for the head of the Israeli army’s intelligence branch, who is stepping down.

Brig. Gen. Moshe Yaalon had been chosen by the chief of staff to replace Maj. Gen. Uri Sagui, who requested to leave his post by September, Israeli media reported.

Sources close to Sagui complained that Yaalon, though a talented officer, was not from the intelligence corps.

“It is absurd to take an officer, no matter how talented,” and “put in such a sensitive position, when we are on the brink of a political process with Syria,” the Israeli daily Ha’aretz quoted the source as saying.

Sagui said he hoped to hold other posts in the military.

At the same time, Israel Television reported that relations between him and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak had not been close, and that Lipkin-Shahak wanted to make staff changes in the intelligence branch.

The decision must still be approved by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who also is the minister of defense.

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