[Freemanlist2] HERB KEINON, GIL HOFFMAN - Cabinet approves new IDF chief

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Cabinet approves new IDF chief



HERB KEINON, GIL HOFFMAN and Jpost staff, THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 4, 2007





Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi is the IDF's next Chief of General Staff.

The cabinet approved on Sunday the appointment of Defense Ministry Dir.-Gen. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi to the post of IDF chief of general staff, replacing Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, who announced his resignation last month. 
Ashkenazi will become the IDF's 19th chief of staff, and the first from the Golani Brigade, following his induction ceremony on February 14. 
Olmert began the meeting by praising the incoming IDF chief. 
"I have no doubt that he will guide the army to be completely ready to deal with its challenges," Olmert said. 
"Gabi is an appreciated leader and commander with an impressive army history spanning many years," the prime minister continued. "I have no doubt that he will lead the army to cope with all that it needs to cope with, to be completely fit to deal with what is essential for the security of the State. I take this opportunity to preemptively praise him, before the confirmation." 
Also during the meeting, Defense Minister Amir Peretz announced that Gabi Ashkenazi will hold his post for four years, instead of the standard three. 
The reason for the extended term, Peretz said, was to avoid a public debate on the matter in three years, as has happened in the past. 
The cabinet approval came after the appointment was approved last week by a judicial committee on senior appointments headed by former judge Ya'acov Terkel. Since both Olmert and Peretz signed off on the appointment, it was not expected to generate any real opposition inside the cabinet. 
Also on Sunday, Labor's Ghaleb Majadle took his place at the cabinet table for the first time as Israel's first Arab minister, holding the title of minister-without-portfolio. 
The cabinet was also expected to hear a number of security briefings.
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