After serving as the IDF (Zahal) Chief of Staff for the past four years, Lieutenant General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz is finishing his term today and discharging from the army. Serving in the IDF (Zahal) for over 38 years, Lt. Gen. Gantz has dealt with complicated threats on all of Israel’s fronts, with creativity, determination and bravery. This is the story of one of the IDF (Zahal)’s most respected Chief’s of Staff.
Lieutenant General Benny Gantz was born in 1959. He recruited to the IDF (Zahal) in 1977 and joined the Paratroopers Brigade.
In 1979, he graduated from the IDF (Zahal)’s Officers’ Course and was assigned to various command posts within the paratroopers. Lt. Gen. Gantz climbed to the top while showing great leadership skills and a unique abilty to inspire his soldiers. These are the milestones in his military career:
1987-1989: serves as commander of the “Ef’a” (viper) Battalion in the Paratroopers Brigade.
1989: serves as commander of the elite unit “Shaldag” in the Israeli Air Force, a position he held until 1992. During this period, he was commander of the forces responsible for Operation Solomon, which brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1991.
1992: serves as commander of the Reserve Paratrooper Brigade Unit.
1994-1995: serves as commander of the Judea Brigade in the Judea and Samaria Division.
1995-1997: serves as commander of the Paratrooper Brigade.
1997: temporarily leaves the army to study in the United States.
1998: receives the rank of Brigadier General and is appointed commander of a reserve division in the Northern Region Command.
1999-2000: serves as commander of the Liaison Unit with Lebanon. He is the last commander of the IDF (Zahal) to withdraw from Lebanon.
2001: receives the rank of Division General and serves as Commander of a Northern Region Command Reserve Base.
2000-2002: serves as commander of the Judea and Samaria Division at the start of the Second Intifada.
2002: serves as commander of the Northern Region Command, a position he holds until 2005.
2005-2007: serves as commander of the Ground Forces.
2007: appointed military attaché of the IDF (Zahal) to the United States.
2009: serves as the Vice Chief of Staff, by request of the Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff, a position he held until November 2010.
February 14, 2011: becomes the 20th Chief of Staff of the IDF (Zahal) and receives the rank of Lieutenant General.
Alongside his military career, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz obtained several university degrees. He has an undergraduate degree in history from Tel Aviv University, a master’s degree in Political Science from Haifa University and a master’s degree in National Resource Management from the United States National Defense University.
Lt. Gen. Gantz is married and has four children.