Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has begun a series of meetings with the three candidates for the position of twenty-third chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, according to a statement from Gantz’s office.

In the coming days, Gantz will meet with former Southern Command chief and ex-deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir; former chief of the Ground Forces and of Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick; and former Southern Command chief and current Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi.

He will also meet with former senior members of the defense establishment for additional consultations, according to the statement.

Gantz’s predecessor as defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, approved the appointment of the current chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, in October 2018.

According to a report by Israel Hayom on Tuesday, Kochavi opposed Gantz’s decision to move forward with the selection process for a new chief of staff due to concerns regarding the government’s stability.

Kochavi is also said to be concerned about the possibility of becoming a “lame duck,” as once his successor is known the military may begin to align itself with his wishes, even before he takes office, according to the report.

JNS

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