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IDF Central Command head to leave army in August

Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox's policies have been criticized by supporters of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

OC Central Command Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox at the Western Wall during the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, March 15, 2024. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.
OC Central Command Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox at the Western Wall during the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, March 15, 2024. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.

Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, head of the Israel Defense Forces Central Command, which covers Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, the Sharon plain, Gush Dan (the Tel Aviv metropolitan area) and the Shephelah (the Judaean Foothills), will leave his post after three years and retire from the army.

Fox, who turned 55 on April 10, informed IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi that he intends to return to civilian life this summer. Fox attributed his decision to fatigue and the sense that he had nothing more to contribute to the security establishment.

He previously served as the Israeli defense attaché to the U.S., assuming the Central Command post in August 2021 under the government of then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Over the past years, Fox’s policies in Judea and Samaria have regularly been criticized by Israeli residents, right-wing activists and politicians.

Judea and Samaria saw a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks in recent months, with shootings reaching their highest level since the Second Intifada of 2000-05, according to IDF data.

Between Oct. 7 and Jan. 15 alone, Hatzalah Judea and Samaria recorded more than 2,600 terrorist attacks against Israelis in the area, including 760 cases of rock-throwing, 551 fire bombings, 12 attempted or successful stabbings and nine vehicular assaults.

However, Fox repeatedly refused government and public calls to restore security checkpoints and roadblocks near Palestinian terrorist hotspots in the Jordan Valley and northern Samaria, critics charged.

Last year, Israel Hayom claimed he unilaterally undercut government policy by reducing the personnel tasked with the enforcement of Palestinian construction violations.

Earlier this year, Fox ordered the destruction of six Jewish homes in eastern Gush Etzion. He bypassed regular procedure in ordering the demolitions, taking the issue directly to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

In the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks, Judea and Samaria residents formed a protest group in response to Fox’s decision to green-light Palestinian olive harvesting close to Israeli communities, even after several Arabs were caught observing security procedures.

Tensions reached a boiling point in February when IDF soldiers were ordered to conduct a training exercise that included a scenario simulating the kidnapping of Palestinian Arabs by Jewish residents of Samaria.

In a conversation with council leaders and local officials, Fox subsequently apologized to “anyone who was harmed.”

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