New IDF Chief of Staff Sworn In

The IDF welcomes its new Chief of Staff, a man known both for his firm stance against terrorism and his measured approach to external threats.

New IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot speaks during a ceremony. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

New IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot speaks during a ceremony. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot was sworn in as Chief of Staff of the IDF this morning. Eizenkot is well regarded for his clarity of vision as an IDF officer, as well as his modesty. He replaces Benny Gantz in the position to become the 21st leader of the Israeli military.

Eizenkot began his military career in in 1978 in the illustrious Golani Brigade, which he later commanded from 1997 to 1998. In 1999, he was appointed Military Secretary for the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense during the premiership of Ehud Barak. He commanded the 366th Division and the Judea and Samaria Division, and headed the Israeli Operations Directorate beginning in June 2005. The next year, in the wake of the Second Lebanon War, he replaced the disgraced Maj. Gen. Udi Adam as head of Northern Command.

In a gesture of humility, Eizenkot declined to be a candidate for Chief of Staff in 2011, insisting that the post go to Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.  “I feel I am ripe and ready to be the chief of the General Staff, but the right thing now, for the IDF and the State of Israel, is Gantz,” he told the newspaper, Maariv, at the time.

 (Photo: ZouZou/Shutterstock)

(Photo: ZouZou/Shutterstock)

In terms of policy, Eizenkot has publicly stated his opposition to Israeli intervention in Iran unless the Islamic Republic poses an immediate existential threat. This measured approach is reminiscent of his conduct during the Second Lebanon War, during which he encouraged the military leadership to avoid unnecessary operations, but firmly supported the destruction of Lebanese infrastructure and attacking the Hezbollah stronghold of the Dahiyeh neighborhood in Beirut.  He also succeeded in bringing a near end to Palestinian terrorist attacks in 2005 through the “lawn-mower approach,” which involved constant military operations to arrest terrorist operatives, gather intelligence, and construct the security fence.

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Eizenkot was sworn in this morning in Jerusalem by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  The premier said, “I can tell you now, Gadi, I can guarantee that there won’t be an easy day. Israel faces many challenges. The Middle East is falling apart.”  He added, “I am sure we will win, and I am sure that Gadi will make the right choices and will lead the IDF.”

This afternoon, Eizenkot will head to Tel Aviv to military headquarters, where he will officially take command.

Eizenkot was born in Tiberias, the son of immigrants from Morocco. He currently lives in Herzliya with his wife and five children.