JERUSALEM (AP) _ Brig. Gen. Ami Ayalon was named Monday as Israel's new navy commander, succeeding Maj. Gen. Micha Ram, who is retiring.

Ayalon, 47, a former underwater commando, was the navy's deputy commander.

He was born on a collective farm in Israel and educated at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv. He also is a graduate of the U.S. Navy's Defense College and obtained a degree in public management from Harvard University.

Ayalon was decorated for valor for an operation against an Egyptian radar station on Green Island in 1969.

Israel's navy is small, with 10,000 troops and 10,000 reservists, according to the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.

It has three submarines, 23 missile-carrying fast patrol boats and nearly 50 coastal patrol boats, the center said. Two more subs are on order. The navy's high-tech equipment includes Gabriel surface-to-surface missiles, the center said.

In the five wars it has fought since Israel's independence in 1948, the navy has never allowed an invasion of the Jewish state from the sea.