Red beret buddies: New IDF chief-of-staff’s appointments raise concerns

Is factionalism returning to the IDF? Two recent appointments of Israel’s new chief of staff raise question marks.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Eyebrows are being raised at new IDF Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kochavi’s recent selections for senior positions. Daily newspaper Israel Hayom reports that there are concerns he’s drawing too much from the same well – his own paratroopers brigade – reviving a factionalism in the IDF general staff that Israel’s army had experienced in the past.

The report praised one of his first appointments, Gen. Yoel Strick, who was named commander of the ground forces. Although he started his Army career in the paratroopers (recognizable by their red berets), he then went on to serve in other brigades, including Givati.

But as Israel Hayom‘s Yoav Limor reports, the other appointments have caused unease and suggest “the return of factionalism to the General Staff.”

Kochavi appointed two comrades from the paratroopers brigade – Amir Baram as head of Northern Command and Itai Virob as Commander of the Military Colleges.

Both are worthy officers, Limor writes, “but no more than those who were not appointed.”

“Senior IDF officers found it hard to escape the feeling that the red beret played a major role in this round of appointments,” he writes. “Past experience has shown that one opinion and one beret are usually not a recipe for success.”