JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Cabinet confirmed the appointment of the country’s new military chief of staff.
Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, the head of the Southern Command of the Israel Defense Forces, was confirmed Sunday in a nearly unanimous vote of the Cabinet. He succeeds Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who has served for the past four years.
Ashkenazi said Sunday that he will step down as scheduled in February, despite rumors that he would leave his position once Galant was confirmed. He was not extended by an extra year, as is traditional.
Likud’s Michael Eitan was the lone vote against the appointment of Galant by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the appointment, saying "Yoav Galant has proven himself over 33 years of service on the front line of the IDF as a brave fighter, an outstanding officer and a sagacious and responsible commander in battle."
Prior to heading the Southern Command, Galant guided the Israeli Navy’s commando unit, the IDF’s Jenin Brigade and its Gaza unit, and was the prime minister’s military secretary.
Israel’s Channel 2 television last month reported on a document leaked to the station, called the "Galant document," which allegedly outlined a public relations campaign for Galant in order to achieve the chief of staff position. The document was deemed a fake by police. Galant has not been implicated in the scandal.