Israeli government approves Yoav Galant as new military chief

Israeli government approves Yoav Galant as new military chief

The government of Israel on Sunday approved the appointment of Major General Yoav Galant as the next chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), dpa reported.

Galant, who currently heads the IDF's Southern Command, would become the country's 20th military chief, according to media reports.

"Gallant has proven himself in 32 years of service in the front line of the IDF as a brave warrior, an excellent officer," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cabinet session, Xinhua reported.

Galant is the former commander of the highly-regarded Shayetet 13 naval commando unit, and, in his current post, led the military 's Operation Cast Lead incursion against the Hamas militant in Gaza at the beginning of 2009.

Galant will "continue the tradition of excellence that current IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi has fostered in the IDF, " Netanyahu said.

The 51-year-old son of Holocaust survivors has served in the military for over three decades and led Israeli forces during the 2008/2009 Gaza incursion. Galant is considered more determined and hawkish than his predecessor, Gabi Ashkenazi.

He is expected to take office in six months' time. Galant's appointment has been shrouded in controversy over allegations of a smear campaign against his rivals for the top military job. A police probe into the so-called "Galant affair" is under way.

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