Israel's defense minister has decided to extend the term of Israel's military chief of staff by a year.

A statement Wednesday by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot will serve an additional year, for a total of four years. He called Eizenkot a "valued" general who "is leading the military successfully and professionally."

The announcement lends support to Eizenkot during a tense period. He has faced a fierce public backlash for supporting the prosecution of an Israeli soldier who fatally shot a badly wounded Palestinian attacker. As the soldier's verdict was being delivered earlier this month, protesters outside the courtroom chanted veiled threats against Eizenkot.

Eizenkot became chief of staff in 2015. The term extension requires approval from Israel's Cabinet.