Major-General Yoav Galant’s designation as the 20th IDF chief of staff is the correct, fitting, and proper choice. This is true both in respect to the security challenges faced by the State of Israel and to fulfilling the IDF’s central mandate: Implementing government policy in the best possible way.
Galant, the former Navy commando, is an excellent example of a field commander who from his first days in the army grew through service at the operational and combat front, right at the IDF’s spearhead. He accumulated proven and exceptional operational experience during dozens of years of leading secret missions without a nearby command backup.
Indeed, Galant has accumulated long hours of taking the toughest, most sensitive decisions, based on sound judgment and in-depth, thorough understanding of the operational theater.
Galant is well aware of the immense security challenges ahead, ranging from nearby fronts to distant theaters. He possesses a broad range of experience as a combatant and commander who developed in the Special Forces and made a true breakthrough, becoming the first Navy commando to be appointed as a brigade commander in Judea and Samaria.
Galant’s experience also includes five years of commanding over a heavy armored division entrusted with major operational missions. Later he served as the Gaza Division commander during years replete with clashes, eventually becoming the IDF Southern Command chief. There he led and commanded over Operation Cast Lead, which prompted the two quietest years we’ve seen in the southern sector for years now.
Major-General Galant possesses thorough familiarity with the most sensitive aspects of commanding over and leading forces, coupled with initiation and development of operations, means of cooperation, and the utilization of various IDF arms. Yet while possessing deep comprehension of the operational side, he also fully understands the army’s place within Israel’s democratic system, as the government’s executive arm for war missions, as well as tasks that may support peace efforts.
Source of authority
Indeed, Galant’s vast military experience is complemented by a broad national vision stemming from his work vis-à-vis other security elements, as well as an intimate familiarity with the diplomatic/political aspects – he deepened this familiarity while serving as Prime Minister Sharon’s military secretary.
The way I see Major-General Yoav Galant, based on personal familiarity as well as conversations with many of his subordinates over the years, he is a source of authority for the whole IDF. The army’s commanders and planners view him as a mature, meticulous figure with great accumulated experience and responsibility: A commander who is familiar with the limitations and has full command of the capabilities, while examining the finest details and showing top-notch operational thoroughness.
Galant won this trust among whole generations of future IDF commanders mostly because of the composure that characterizes him, his coolness, and his ability to withstand pressures with honesty and integrity. Those familiar with him know that he is a moderate man who is neither zealous nor radical; he fully understands the importance of his mission.
Galant’s selection may not be perfect – because there’s no such thing as perfect – yet we must tell the Israeli public today, in a loud and clear voice: An outstanding army chief had been selected; the right man at the right time.
I believe that a man who survived storms, trials, and tribulations at sea and in enemy territory, and who knew how to keep his head above water – but dive in when necessary – would also know how to lead, unite, and command over the IDF in the midst of the threatening storms approaching us from near and far.
It is appropriate and symbolic that only a day after Iran celebrated the inauguration of its nuclear reactor, Israel conveyed a sense of responsibility, durability, and stability, calling upon Yoav to lead our camp.
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