Israel appoints new army chief of staff

On Sunday, the Israeli government announced the selection of Maj. Gen. Harzi Halevi as Army Chief of Staff, at a time when the conflict between the Jewish state and the Palestinians is experiencing a notable escalation.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid confirmed that Halevy will take office on January 17 next year.

Like previous army chiefs of staff, Halevi will face a “major challenge,” he added.

“Our enemies do not want the State of Israel to exist, we must always be stronger, more experienced and more determined than them,” the prime minister said in a statement.

Outgoing Army Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi praised his successor as an “excellent and experienced officer”.

Halevi was born in Jerusalem in 1967 to a religious family, and was recruited as a paratrooper in 1985 before advancing through various leadership positions, reaching the most elite “Sarit Matkal” unit in the army in 1993.

In 2001, Halevi was appointed unit commander and remained in his post for three years, his rise through the ranks continuing in the army until his appointment as head of military intelligence in 2014 and as head of Southern Command in 2018.

Halevi earned degrees in philosophy and business administration from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master’s degree in resource management from the National Defense University in Washington, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Halevi lives in the Kfar Ha-Oranim settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law.