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Israeli defense minister picks country’s new military chief

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s defense minister has selected Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi as the nominee for the country’s next chief of staff.

His nomination requires approval from an appointments committee and by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet. If approved, Kochavi will start on Jan. 1.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office said in a statement on Friday that Kochavi was “the most appropriate, distinguished and experienced” to serve as the next head of the Israeli military.

Current army chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot will step down from his post on Dec. 31, after a nearly four-year stint as Israel’s top officer. Usually, Israel’s army chiefs serve up to four years.

The 54-year-old Kochavi previously served as commander of military intelligence, chief of northern command and most recently as Eisenkot’s deputy chief of staff.

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