Against the background of the great tensions between the army and the political system, Major General Herzi Halevi will be appointed tomorrow (Monday) as the 23rd Chief of Staff of the IDF in a solemn and impressive ceremony.
The ceremonies will begin at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's house in Jerusalem, where Major General Halevi will receive the rank of lieutenant colonel, and will end at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, where a guard of honor ceremony will be held for the incoming Chief of Staff and a farewell ceremony for the outgoing Chief of Staff, Major General Aviv Kochavi.
Despite the festive atmosphere, General Halevi would not want to enter his position like this.
He would have preferred to come in smoothly, and not when Bezalel Smotrich, who serves as Minister in the Ministry of Defense at the same time as the Minister of Finance, is trying to transfer the powers of the Civil Administration to him, when Minister Ben Gabir wants to subordinate the Mageb Iosh to him, and when the coalition demands that the Chief Military Rabbi be subordinated to the Chief Rabbinate instead of the Chief of Staff.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Kochavi.
Tensions between the military and the political echelon, photo: Haim Tzach/Leam
Over the past weekend, the farewell interviews of Colonel Kochavi were published, in which he spoke out against Minister Smotrich's attempt to make changes in the army, and among other things, to accept responsibility for the Civil Administration. In an interview with Israel Hayom, he said: "An external appointment to the chain of command is like to inject poison into the IDF".
"Tell the truth"
On Friday, Smotrich posted a photo of the advertisement in "Israel Today" on his Twitter, and wrote: "If Kochavi wanted to understand and not just attack with populism in preparation for his entry into the political field, he would talk to me and understand that the goal is not to damage the IDF's chain of command, but Take the Civil Administration out of the IDF and naturalize it."
The Minister of Defense until a week or so ago, Benny Gantz, defended Kochavi and wrote on his Twitter account: "Smotrich and Netanyahu, you are confused - it is the Chief of Staff's professional duty to tell the truth and warn - even if it is not a guarantee for the politicians' ears." He also wrote: "The campaign of intimidation and silencing against the senior officials of the security establishment and the professional ranks will harm security, no less than the destructive splitting of powers in Judea and Samaria for political reasons."
Criticized Kochavi, photo: Oren Ben Hakon
It is very likely that Halevi's position is very similar to that of Colonel Kochavi, except that as the Chief of Staff who has just taken up his position - he does not want to come into conflict with the political echelon.
As we first published in "Israel Hayom", last Thursday Halevi met with Smotrich.
The meeting was conducted in a good atmosphere, and the two discussed the need to cooperate with the Minister of Defense on the issue of the Civil Administration and the National Security Service, as well as the issues of the IDF budget, multi-year plans and the deep manpower crisis in the army.
The meeting was held under the guidance of Defense Minister Yoav Galant.
A competent officer
In his first week in office, the new Chief of Staff Halevi is expected to hold a conversation with the Chief of Staff Forum, a multi-scene situation assessment and a situation assessment regarding the IDF's competence, and to visit for the first time as Chief of Staff the Central Command precisely where the security events continue - as we also saw during the end of this week
Gantz and Kochavi (archive).
The former defense minister defended the outgoing chief of staff, photo: Ariel Harmoni, Ministry of Defense
Halevi is considered a very talented officer with a unique strategic vision, and with the ability to find creative and non-standard solutions.
The security establishment hopes that despite the difficulties, he will be able to maintain the IDF amid the political chaos above him.
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