Earlier today, Major General Aviv Kochavi was promoted to Lieutenant General. The 54-year-old decorated veteran has officially assumed the post of the ’22nd Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.’ In a ceremony that was held this morning, attended among others by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and outgoing Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, Kochavi underscored the spirit in which he plans to lead the IDF. Lt. Gen. Kochavi said, “The national homeland that was established here (Israel) is a wonderous creation that has no likeness in history. But, the area that it was planted in, due to national and religious reasons, attempts to reject its natural roots. For (Israel’s) defense, a shrewd vision is necessary, a competent military force, willingness to employ it, discretion and determination. In this spirit we will act.” The new Chief of Staff has served in Israel’s military for the past 36 years. He started his military-service as part of the Paratroopers Brigade, where he served in all capacities until he became the brigade commander. Thereafter, Lieutenant General Kochavi continued to climb the military ladder. He served as the commanding officer of the Gaza Division, the operations branch in IDF Intelligence, the IDF Intelligence Branch, after which he became the OC of the Northern Command and then deputy Chief of Staff. The newly appointed Chief of Staff has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has two separate master’ degrees in public policy and international relations from Harvard and John Hopkins Universities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the outgoing Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General in Reserve Gadi Eisenkot, for his numerous accomplishments during his four-years of service. In the Prime Minister’s words, “During these past four years we faced together significant challenges. The arenas changed, in Gaza, in Syria, in Lebanon and other places. But one primary adversary faced us. Iran and its proxies. We acted with responsibility and with discernment to thwart the emboldening of those who seek to annihilate us. We did this though the termination of the Iran nuclear deal and the resumption of sanctions against it. We had to pierce the deception voiced by Iran, it lies all the time. It lied about the nuclear agreement, and we unveiled (their lie) by the unveiling of the nuclear archive that we attained in Tehran. It is lying now, when it so-called sends an innocent satellite to orbit. But, it actually seeks to attain the first stage of a cross-continent ballistic missile, going against all international agreements. We fully support the aggressive policy of the United States against this (Iranian) offensive measure. We also defended Israel by thwarting the attempted transfer of precision guided missiles to Hezbollah. The destruction of Hezbollah’s (cross-border attack) tunnels in the north, and Hamas in the south, and above all, thwarting Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria.” Prime Minister Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel’s Defense Minister, took the opportunity to threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran, saying “I heard yesterday the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson claiming that “Iran does not have a military presence in Syria, we are only advising.” So my advice to them (Iran), leave (Syria) quickly. Because, we will continue our aggressive policy as we promised, as we are so-doing, with no fear and in continuity.” The Israeli leader further announced Israel’s focus for the next years, according to which Jerusalem aims to bolster its military’s qualitative edge for both offensive and defensive purposes. “The focus is clear. To assure our superiority against our enemies, and to widen the qualitative gap between us. First of all, we will act to strengthen our offensive capabilities. We will maintain a decisive blow capacity against enemies from near and far. May our enemies that threaten our existence know, that they will pay an intolerable price for their aggression. The IDF and the rest of our defense establishment will be prepared to defeat any multi-theater campaign. Secondly, we will act to bolster our defense. During this era, we will complete our active (multi-layered) defense (systems) that will protect the entire land (Israel), and we will complete our underground barriers on all fronts. The combination of enhancing our offense and defense will increase our deterrence,” Netanyahu said.