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IDF Southern Command gets a new leader

"The people of Israel will be tested in the Negev," Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman said at the hand-over ceremony, quoting Ben-Gurion.

OC Southern Command Yaron Finkelman (left) and his predecessor in the post, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, at the hand-over ceremony in Beersheva, July 9, 2023. Credit: IDF.
OC Southern Command Yaron Finkelman (left) and his predecessor in the post, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, at the hand-over ceremony in Beersheva, July 9, 2023. Credit: IDF.

Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman assumed the leadership of the IDF’s Southern Command on Sunday, succeeding Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano.

“Commanders and soldiers of the Southern Command, I believe in you, in the tremendous human strength found here, and I trust you that we will work together to protect our country,” Finkelman, 48, said at the hand-over ceremony at the Command’s headquarters in Beersheva.

“I was privileged to serve, command and fight here. I am back in the warm embrace of the South. [To quote David] Ben-Gurion’s commandment: ‘The people of Israel will be tested in the Negev’, and I add modestly and with confidence—we will work with all our might for the security of the South,” added Finkelman.

His tenure begins amid tensions with Palestinian terrorist groups in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, and two months after the IDF fought a five-day battle (“Operation Shield and Arrow”) against Islamic Jihad in the enclave.

Also on Sunday, Brig. Gen. Ariel Dayan was named as the next commander of the Israel Air Force’s Tel Nof Base, near Rehovot. It is one of the IAF’s three main bases.

The appointment is subject to the approval of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

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