Aviv Kochavi to become new IDF chief of staff

Current IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot is set to step down in less than six months, after serving close to four years as the IDF’s top officer.

October 26, 2018 11:57
2 minute read.
Aviv Kochavi

Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi briefs US military representative Joseph F. Dunford. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Friday that he has chosen Aviv Kochavi to become the 22nd IDF chief of staff.

“Maj.-Gen. Kochavi is the most suitable and most experienced candidate to serve as chief of staff,” Liberman said in a press release. “[He] has outstanding leadership, courage, creativity and command capabilities. The unique combination of the many positions he has held in the IDF; his proven command capabilities during times of emergency; the great esteem he enjoys in the IDF; and the great success with which he has carried out missions over the years make him the most suitable [person] for leading the IDF in the coming years.”

Upon his return from Oman on Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Kochavi is “the worthy candidate to be the next IDF chief of staff.”

The selection process, which is based on recommendations by the military advocate general, consisted of six stages, with Liberman consulting with current Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and former senior officials such as prime ministers, defense ministers and chiefs of staff.

Kochavi, a charismatic paratroop officer, was one of four front-runners for the position. Other candidates included Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon and Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir.

His name will be brought before the Goldberg Committee on Sunday and, subject to its approval, the defense minister will present his appointment to the cabinet.

Born in 1964, Kochavi enlisted in the Paratroopers Brigade in 1982 and has served in multiple command roles throughout his career.

He served as Eastern Division commander of the Lebanon Liaison Unit (1998-1999) and commander of the Paratrooper Brigade (2001-2003), where he commanded troops against Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank during the Second Intifada. He also commanded the IDF’s elite Airborne Division before serving as commander of the Gaza Division from 2004 to 2006.

He also held several key positions in the General Staff, commanding the Operations Division, Military Intelligence (2010-2014) and the Northern Command. He is currently deputy chief of staff.

Kochavi has a BA in philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, and another master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.

Eisenkot is set to step down in less than four months, after serving close to four years as the IDF’s top officer.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.

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