Israel appoints Herzi Halevi as next military chief

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The Israeli government on Sunday confirmed Major General Herzi Halevi, a former military intelligence head who led forces along the Gaza border, as the country’s next military chief.

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Halevi, 54, who serves as deputy to outgoing Chief of General Staff Aviv Kohavi, will take charge of Israel’s armed forces on January 17, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.

Halevi’s appointment at the end of Kohavi’s term comes as violence surges in the occupied West Bank and just weeks since the latest Gaza flare-up.

His nomination was approved less than two weeks before Israelis head to the polls on November 1, in the country’s fifth election in less than four years.

Speaking shortly before the cabinet vote, Lapid said Halevi would face the same “main challenge” as past army chiefs, ensuring Israel’s military is “stronger, more sophisticated and more determined” then “our enemies.”

Kohavi praised his successor as “an excellent and experienced officer.”

Born in Jerusalem in 1967 to a religious family, Halevi was enlisted in 1985 as a paratrooper and advanced in various command positions before joining the elite Sayeret

Matkal commando unit in 1993, according to the army.

He served as commander of Sayeret Matkal for three years from 2001 and then continued to climb the ranks, becoming head of military intelligence in 2014 and head of the southern command in 2018, the army said.

Married with four children, Halevi lives in Kfar Haoranim, a community that is partially a settlement in the West Bank.

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