Tel Aviv: Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi took over as Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces as a series of handover ceremonies began at the Prime Minister's Office on Monday morning.

Halevi, 55, has been in military service since 1985, starting off as a paratrooper and climbing the ranks ever since. He was nominated for Chief of Staff by former Defense Minister Benny Gantz in September.

Married with four children, Halevi lives in Kfar Oranim, in the Binyamin region. Born and raised in Jerusalem, Halevi is the first graduate of a religious high school to become Chief of Staff.

Halevi succeeds Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, whose own term as Chief of Staff was marked by difficulties. While Israel had five national elections between April 2019-November 2022, Kochavi served under four different Defense Ministers. The political paralysis led to budget issues, which were further complicated by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The new Chief of Staff will be immediately challenged by the Palestinian security escalation in Judea and Samaria, Iranian efforts to entrench itself and its proxy militias in Syria, and confronting Iran's nuclear program.

The position of Chief of Staff is a three-year appointment with the possibility of a one-year extension.

Halevi is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, and visit the Western Wall and a memorial for fallen soldiers in Jerusalem before going to the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv where an honour guard will welcome him and also bid farewell to Kochavi.