Israel approves Shaul Mofaz as the new chief of staff for IDF

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to have favored another candidate, Maj. Gen. Matan Vilnai, who preceded Mofaz as deputy chief of staff of the IDF.

Earlier this week, the Cabinet said both Mofaz and Vilnai were qualified candidates for the position, and that the decisive factor had been the "preference and desire of the defense minister to work with one of them."

Mofaz was nominated by Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai.

Mofaz, 50, was born in Iran and came to Israel as a young child. He joined the paratroopers and advanced to serve in several senior command positions in the army, including brigade commander.

He was also a member of the elite general staff commando unit.

In 1993 he was appointed commander of IDF forces in the West Bank. A year later, he was named head of the IDF's southern command. In 1996 he was made head of the planning division of the General Staff, and last year succeeded Vilnai as deputy chief of staff.