UPDATE 1-Netanyahu scraps choice for top Israeli general

Tue Feb 1, 2011 6:31pm GMT

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JERUSALEM Feb 1 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday scrapped the designated next chief of Israel's armed forces after receiving a legal opinion against the nomination.

Netanyahu's office said that pending selection of a substitute for Major-General Yoav Galant, who was to assume the top post on Feb. 14, he would be replaced by the current deputy chief of staff, Major-General Yair Naveh.

The shakeup comes at a time of heightened Israeli jitters over power struggles in neighbouring Egypt and Lebanon, and arch-foe Iran's nuclear programme. Netanyahu's office said he intended to nominate a new chief of staff within 60 days.

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein came out earlier on Tuesday against Galant, who had been taken to court by a public watchdog group that accused him of illegally annexing state land to his private homestead in northern Israel. (Writing by Dan Williams; editing by Andrew Roche)

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