Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz meets with then GOC Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot (L), and Commander of the 36th Armored Division, Brig. Gen. Eyal Zamir, June 6, 2011.

Army Radio on Sunday morning reported about a phone call between then Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the day the DM had decided to announce the appointment of Major General Aviv Kochavi to replace IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot. The call took place during the prime minister’s visit to Oman,

According to the report, when the Yisrael Beiteinu chairman informed the prime minister of Kochavi’s appointment, Netanyahu, who preferred Major General Eyal Zamir for the post, screamed at him and threatened not to bring the appointment to the cabinet for approval.

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Later on, Netanyahu demanded that Liberman appoint Zamir as deputy chief of staff, but Liberman ignored the prime minister and declared Kochavi as the next chief of staff without the added appointment.

A few hours later, Netanyahu issued a statement welcoming Kochavi’s appointment.

The prime minister said in response to the Army Radio report: “The report is tendentious and full of fiction.”

Liberman’s office responded: “The things described are inaccurate.”

According to earlier media reports, the prime minister and his wife Sara wanted the next chief to be Major General Zamir, who served as Netanyahu’s military secretary before becoming commander of the Southern Command recently. As military secretary, Zamir won the Netanyahus’ complete trust.

Indeed, last week, after appropriating the DM’s portfolio, Netanyahu approved the appointment of Zamir as deputy chief of staff, paving the way for him to become the next chief of staff in three to four years.

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