The Israeli military and Jewish residents in the West Bank have a long-standing friendly connection.
These bonds are about to get stronger.
A settler will hold the position of chief of staff of Israel’s military for the first time, acting as the enforcer of Israel’s ongoing 56-year occupation of the West Bank.
The nomination of Major General Herzi Halevi was accepted on Sunday, and he is anticipated to take office on January 17 for a three-year tenure.
Halevi’s ascent completes the settlement movement’s decades-long metamorphosis from a small group of religious extremists to a varied and powerful force at the center of Israeli society, whose members have attained the highest levels of government and other essential institutions.
According to critics, the settlers’ disproportionate political clout imperils any prospects for establishing a Palestinian state of independence and the nation’s continued democracy.
They assert that Halevi’s appointment reveals the close ties between the military and settlers.
Some claim that Halevi, the deputy chief of staff, has had a stellar military career and that his residence won’t impact his judgment.
He directed the Southern Command, from where he oversaw operations in the Gaza Strip and served as the prestigious Sayeret Matkal unit commander.
He also managed military intelligence.
Benny Gantz, the defense minister, complimented Halevi for being an ethical officer. Gantz nominated him, saying, “I have no doubt that he is the appropriate man to lead the military.”
Halevi was not made accessible for an interview by the military.
Halevi is a descendant of a rabbi regarded as the founder of the current settlement movement.
He was born in Jerusalem just months after Israel’s conquest of the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East war.
Halevi resides in settlement of Kfar HaOranim, which is next to the boundary between Israel and the West Bank.
Instead of being driven by a radical ideology, many people who relocated to Kfar HaOranim would have been attracted by lower housing costs in a convenient location between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
However, frequently choosing to reside in a community reveals a slight nationalist political leaning. Many Israelis remain apprehensive about traveling to some areas of the West Bank.