Netanyahu names new army chief nominee
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday named a new candidate as head of the country's armed forces after their original appointee became embroiled in a property scandal, dpa reported.
At the weekly cabinet session, they named Major General Benny Ganz, 51, as their man for the position as head of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
At the same time, the cabinet approved cancelling the appointment of Yoav Galant, 52, to the post after accusations emerged that he had seized public land adjacent to his own property.
Israel's attorney general Yehuda Weinstein had expressed "ethical" objections to the appointment of Galant, the son of parents who had survived the Holocaust.
Galant had been due to take over from current IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on February 14.
As head of the Southern Command, Galant led Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip in December 2008-January 2009 in which around 1,400 Palestinians were killed.
Announced in September, the appointment had already been dogged by accusations that Galant had attempted to sideline potential rivals for the job by launching a smear campaign.
The bitter dispute over naming the new IDF chief has plunged the Israeli military's top leadership into turmoil.
At the cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu said that "the stability of the Israeli army is always important, but particularly now due to the deep convulsions in the region."
Netanyahu described Ganz as an "experienced commander and outstanding officer...He has all the credentials and necessary experience to be an excellent military chief of staff."