The Israel Navy’s new commander is of Chinese descent, a first for the military top brass in the Jewish state.
Admiral Eli Marom – nicknamed “Chiney” – took over as navy chief this month after his predecessor, David Ben-Bassat, quit amid criticism of his conduct during the Lebanon war.
Marom’s mother was a member of the Chinese Jewish community, born to a local man and a Russian emigre woman. She married Marom’s father after he fled his native Germany for China during World War Two. In 1955, the couple moved to Israel, where Marom was born.
Marom’s asiatic appearance may have helped him advance in the Israel Navy.
“The fact that Chiney looked different forced him constantly to show that he was better. He became one of the very best very quickly,” one former comrade told the weekend Yediot Acharonot, which ran a profile of the new admiral.
Marom, 52, trained as an engineer and ascended through the ranks, overseeing major naval operations such as the 2002 capture of an Iranian-supplied weapons ship en route to Gaza.