Major General Benny Gantz was appointed IDF Chief of the General Staff and received the rank of Lieutenant General today, February 14th 2011, at a national ceremony held in the Prime Minister’s chamber.
The appointed Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, will replace Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, who served as Chief of the General Staff in the last four years, and is retiring from the IDF after 40 years of service.
Lt. Gen. Gantz is Israel’s 20th IDF Chief of the General Staff.
The ceremony was held in the presence of Israel’s Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister, Mr. Ehud Barak, ministers, members of the Cabinet, the General Staff and other honored guests. Also attending the ceremony was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Military, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, who arrived in Israel especially to participate in the farewell events for Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi.
About the IDF’s new Chief of Staff:
Lieutenant General Benny Gantz is a graduate of the Command and Staff College and the National Security College and a U.S. Military Special Forces course (one of only three IDF officers to graduate from the “Green Berets” training course). He has a Bachelors degree in history from the Tel Aviv University, a Masters degree in Political Science from the Haifa University and another Masters Degree in Management of National Resources from the National Defense University in the United States.
Born in 1959, Lieutenant General Gantz joined the IDF in 1977 as a Paratrooper. He was commander in charge of the 1991 “Operation Solomon” which brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel. During the 2000 withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, then-Major General Gantz was the last IDF commander to leave the gates of Lebanon.
Lt. Gen. Gantz is married and is a father of four.
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