World Bulletin/News Desk
Israel on Saturday announced the appointment of a new chief of staff of its armed forces, Major-General Gadi Eisenkot, who has spent much of his operational career confronting Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon.
Eisenkot, 54, currently deputy to incumbent chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, will take over in February when Gantz completes his four-year term.
Eisenkot was the senior commander of forces along Israel's northern border with Lebanon and Syria and among a several other top positions, served as military attache to former prime minister Ehud Barak.
Described by top officers as a level-headed, quiet thinker, Eisenkot rose through the ranks in the infantry. Apart from commanding forces along the southern Lebanon border, in more junior roles he also led troops in the occupied West Bank.
In an interview in 2008, Eisenkot warned that Israel would use "disproportionate" force to destroy Lebanese villages. He supported the destruction of Beirut's Dahieh suburb as an act of deterrence
"Eisenkot has been picked from a group of excellent generals to lead the military in the complex defensive challenges that Israel faces. On behalf of all Israel's citizens, I wish him success," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to the Israeli media, Eizenkot was one of the leaders of the "lawn mowing" approach in the West Bank as well: "Around-the-clock non-stop arrests of terror operatives, a strong intelligence grasp of the area and the speeding up of construction on the separation wall," as Ynet News describes it.