What Will the IDF Look Like Under Newest and Highest Ranking Leader?

January 21, 2019

4 min read

On January 14, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kohavi assumed the IDF’s highest position as Chief of the General Staff. He succeeds outgoing IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Eisenkot, who served for four years as Chief of the General Staff and 40 years of service in the IDF.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman selected Kohavi in October and is considered “one of the most brilliant in the military” according to Israel National News. Kohavi, 64, is highly educated, holding a BA in philosophy from Hebrew University, an MA in public administration from Harvard and an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins.

Kohavi drafted into the IDF in 1982 and has served in the First and Second Lebanon War, the South Lebanon conflict, First and Second Intifada, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense and Operation Protective Edge. In the past two years, Kohavi served as deputy chief of staff, commander of the Gaza Division, head of the operations division in the General Staff, head of Military Intelligence and head of the Northern Command.

Among his many achievements, Kohavi developed the use of a 5 kg hammer during the Second Intifada in 2002 to break down walls and cross through homes in the terror-infested refugee camps. This tactic, used to prevent his soldiers from being shot by snipers, has been replicated by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Setting the tone for the future of the IDF, Kohavi announced at his inauguration ceremony his goals and the values that will be prioritized under his leadership:

Clear Vision, Judgment and Determination, Ability and Willingness to use Force

During the inauguration ceremony, Kohavi declared, “The national home that was founded here is an unmatched marvel in the history of the nations. […] In order to protect this home, a clear vision is needed, an able military force, the willingness to use it, judgment and determination; in this spirit, we shall act.”


He maintained, “I shoulder the responsibilities with awe, and see my role as a privilege granted to me with the help of many that are deserving of thanks.” Among those thanked were Kohavi’s parents who gave him a “moral compass.”

Commitment to Fallen, Wounded and Missing Soldiers

Kohavi continued, “Each and every soldier is a precious asset that we have received to safeguard, and the care for those who serve is a decree. So too is the memory of our fallen, the strengthening of the bereaved families and the wounded, and our commitment to bringing home the missing.”


Strengthening Defensive Shield

Announced Kohavi, “Now, in my turn, since I have accepted the responsibility to lead the military, I vow to devote all my efforts, in a critical and demanding way, to strengthen our defensive shield, and to suit it to the challenges of the present and the future.”

Enhanced Offensive Abilities

He posed, “We must focus on enhancing our ability to strike the enemy, and positioning a powerful, efficient and innovative military which preserves its purpose and uniqueness.”

Embodying the Best of Israel

“The IDF is the military of the people, for the protection of the people, which respects its soldiers from all [its nation’s] people, draws its strength from the people, and embodies the best of the people,” Kohavi maintained.

Driven by Rule of Law and Jewish Values

Added Kohavi, “The IDF is a professional fighting force, led by its commanders, ready for every mission, which operates according to the law, the decisions of the Israeli Government and in the spirit of the values of the Jewish people.”

Proactive and Victorious

According to Kohavi, the IDF’s essence is “defensive in its purpose” but “offensive and proactive in character, with victory its only essence.”

Dr. John A.I Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, thanked Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot for his many decades of leadership in defending the State of Israel. He told Breaking Israel News, “Outgoing IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen Eisenkot commanded the IDF with sharp strategy and profound leadership. He fought Iranian entrenchment in Syria, assisted in the international coalition against ISIS and was a strong advocate of the IDF’s diversity.”

Continued Grossman, “Eisenkot’s legacy will be a hard act to follow, and we are confident that Maj. Gen. Aviv Kohavi will do just that. His vision for the IDF will surely continue the legacy of the State of Israel as one of the most prepared, effective, capable, innovative and ethical armies.”

Written in coordination with LIBI USA.

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