Sources close to Defense Minister Ehud Barak criticized IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Avi Benayahu Tuesday following a Channel 1 report suggesting the IDF chief of staff's term in office may be extended by one more year.
The IDF Spokesman's Unit refused to comment on the report.
The notion was first suggested in a Channel 1 report, which said that Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi may see a fifth year in office in light of the growing tensions with Iran.
Barak was reportedly furious over the report, referred to as "baseless."
"The government and the defense establishment have nothing but respect and admiration for IDF Chief Ashkenazi, but the matter of extending his term has never been discussed anywhere," a security source told Ynet.
"This report, as fabricated by IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Avi Benayahu, belittles both the chief of staff and his office's standing."
Ashkenazi will soon end his third year in office. As his fourth and last year as head of the Israel Defense Forces nears, tension and rumors within military ranks as to his possible successor have already begun circling.
Nevertheless, and while Benayahu himself was unavailable for comment, IDF sources told Ynet that the issue of the next IDF chief has yet to be discussed.
"Israel has been experiencing tense security situations over the past few years and is sure to face them in the years to come," a defense establishment source said.
"There are plenty of officers who are deserving of the title of chief of staff. When the time comes, the best decision, both for the IDF and for the State of Israel, will be made."