This just in:Defense Minister Ehud Barak has just published his decision to appoint Head of Southern Command, Major General Yoav Galant, the next IDF Chief of Staff. Galant, 52, has been in the IDF since 1977 when he was 19, starting out in the Israeli equivalent of the Navy Seals, Shayetet 13, the self same unit involved in the Gaza Flotilla affair. He became head of Southern Command in 2005, and was instrumental in planning and executing Gaza Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.

Galant has been the subject of a recent media debacle surrounding a document termed the “Galant Document” leaked by an Israeli journalist that supposedly contained a media plan to help Galant attain the post of Chief of Staff. The document has been announced by various police officials to have been forged in an attempt to harm his chances at being appointed the post. It is in the very heat of this controversy and an unprecedented fallout in relations between Defense Minister Barak and current Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, that he decided to appoint Galant. Barak earlier today (August 22) decided to suspend all appointments made by Ashkenazi, though the reason is unclear, but supposedly related to his possible involvement in the Galant affair.

The generally accepted term for an IDF Chief of Staff is 3 years, though no solid term length is anchored in law and the actual term is determined by whatever defense minister happens to be in office and his relationship status with the Chief of Staff.

Galant will have a stormy job to take over, with Iran going nuclear only yesterday with its first active uranium powered nuclear plant. His appointment still needs to be confirmed by the Knesset.