President Reuven Rivlin and OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi on tour of northern border.
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved the appointment on Thursday of OC Northern Command Maj.- Gen. Aviv Kochavi as the next deputy chief of General Staff, replacing Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan.
Recommended by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Kochavi was seen as a front-runner along with former OC Southern Command Sami Turgeman.
Following the announcement of the appointments, Turgeman released a statement saying he would retire from the army.
Kochavi will be replaced by Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick, who currently heads the Home Front Command. In turn, Strick will be replaced by Brig.-Gen. Tamir Yadai, who currently is the commander of the IDF’s West Bank Division. Yadai will also be promoted to major-general.
Born in 1964, Kochavi enlisted in the Paratroop Brigade in 1982, and has served in multiple roles in the IDF since then, including as Eastern Division commander of the Lebanon Liaison Unit (1998-1999), commander of the Paratroop Brigade (2001-2003), commander of the Gaza Division (2004- 2006) and head of Military Intelligence (2010-2014).
Kochavi has a BA in philosophy from Hebrew University, a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
While he is well-liked by many and seen as a rising star in the IDF, Kochavi was not Eisenkot’s top choice, who preferred instead to appoint Turgeman, due in part to the upcoming state comptroller’s report on Operation Protective Edge.
The report, set to be released in the second half of November, had a first draft which included harsh criticism of Kochavi, the army’s lack of preparedness, and failure to share with the security cabinet the true extent of the threat posed by Hamas tunnels.
In addition to Kochavi, a number of other appointments were made to the General Staff, including new commanders of the air force, Home Front Command, Depth Corps and Planning Directorate.
Maj.-Gen. Amikam Nurkin, air force head for the past four years, will be replaced by Maj.- Gen. Amir Eshel, who currently serves as head of the Planning Division.
Eshel is expected to retire from the army and Nurkin will be replaced by Brig.-Gen. Amir Aboulafiya, who will also be promoted to major-general.
Brig.-Gen. Moni Katz has been appointed by Liberman as commander of the Depth Corps, which operates deep inside enemy territory, replacing Maj.-Gen. (res.) Tal Russo, who has held the role for the past year and a half. Katz will also be promoted to colonel.
In a statement, Liberman said that The IDF and the State of Israel can be proud that the appointed officers “are the people commanding the troops.”
While the announcements were made Thursday, the army said that they will not take effect until next year.