The U.S. Armed Forces on Monday awarded the Legion of Merit to Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi in a ceremony at Fort Myer in Washington, D.C.
The medal was awarded in honor of Kochavi’s achievements in “establishing Israel’s position as a leader of groundbreaking operational capabilities in the Middle East,” and enhancing the Israeli-American strategic alliance, according to an official statement.
The award was presented by Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on behalf of the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to the IDF Spokesperson Unit.
“Through his actions during his tenure as Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Kochavi exemplified the spirit of collaboration and cooperation in furthering the strategic partnership of the United States and the State of Israel,” said Milley.
“Lt. Gen. Kochavi solidified Israel’s status as a capable and effective regional security leader in the Middle East. Lt. Gen. Kochavi further demonstrated exceptional strategic leadership by capitalizing on the diplomatic initiatives of the Abraham Accords to deepen bilateral military-to-military ties with partners,” he added.
Kochavi also guided the U.S.-Israeli military-to-military relationship through a transition period, as U.S. European Command handed over its geographic combatant command responsibility for Israel to U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations and regional cooperation in the Middle East.
“Kochavi exemplified the close bond between Israel and the United States. Lt. Gen. Kochavi clearly established and shared Israel’s strategic defense objectives, in close alignment with U.S. national interests and strategic objectives. Lt. Gen. Kochavi’s superior efforts, outstanding leadership, and personal initiative reflect great credit upon himself, the Israel Defense Forces, and his country,” said Milley.