The new commander of the Israeli army will be reserve general Gabi Ashkenazi, the government confirmed late Monday. He replaces Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, who stepped down last week under stiff criticism for the military's poor performance in last summer's war against Hizbullah.
Ashkenazi, now the director of the Israeli Defense Ministry, was the deputy chief of staff and commander of the northern front in previous postings. He left the army two years ago with the rank of major general when Halutz was named as chief of staff instead of him.
Ashkenazi was named after his only competitor, Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, withdrew his candidacy Sunday, the AP reported.
Ashkenazi, 53, fought as an infantryman in the 1973 War and took part in Israel's rescue of more than 100 hostages held by Palestinian and German hijackers at Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976. He served as an officer during Israel's invasion to Lebanon in 1982, and then oversaw the pullout of all Israeli forces from south Lebanon in 2000.