Defense Minister Ehud Barak interviewed the two top candidates for the position of the Israel Defense Force deputy chief of General Staff.
Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi are anxiously awaiting Barak's decision. Barak associates believe the final decision will be announced in two weeks, made in conjunction with Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.
Gantz's favored candidate is thought to be Eizenkot, who began his military career in the Golani Infantry Brigade. He last served as the GOC Northern Command. He has also served as chief operations officer and military secretary to the prime minister in the past. During the last round of appointments for chief of General Staff, he was one of the candidates, along with Gantz and Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant.
Eizenkot is a highly respected officer praised for his professionalism and his handling of the Northern Command following the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Israeli media outlets reported speculation that Eizenkot's involvement in the Harpaz affair, a scandal in which documents tarnishing the reputation of then IDF chief candidate Yoav Galant were leaked, could adversely effect Eizenkot's chance of appointment. No official statements have substantiated the rumors, however, and Eizenkot's role in the affair is considered negligible.
Barak also interviewed Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, who recently served as GOC Central Command. Mizrahi began his military career in the Armored Corps and is considered a qualified candidate, having also commanded the Ground Forces, Technological and Logistics Directorate, and the Central Operations Division.
Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni would have been in the running for the position, however he announced his retirement from the IDF last week after 35 years of service.