The son of Moroccan immigrants is to become Israel’s most senior soldier in February, when Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz steps down.
Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, who led the Golani Brigade, the Bashan Armoured Division, the West Bank Division, the Operations Branch and the Northern Command, this week got the nod to become the IDF’s next chief-of-staff.
Before serving as deputy to Gantz, Eizenkot took over the Northern Branch in 2006 following his predecessor’s misgivings over the Lebanon War. Gantz subsequently credited Eizenkot for “creating a level of quiet that the north has never known”.
Israel’s northern border is expected to be tested in the coming years, as Syria disintegrates and jihadist groups turn their sights on the Jewish state.
This week commentators praised Gantz’s successor for his cool head. “Eizenkot is not the type to rush into battle,” said Ha’aretz analyst Aluf Benn. “He prefers to avoid military adventures and advocates formulating an exit strategy before going to war.”
But others criticised his most recent tenure as IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, citing a lack of preparation for the Hamas tunnel network discovered under the Gaza border.