The Israeli military was placed under the command of its new chief of staff Tuesday, as outgoing Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot ends his term.
Major General Aviv Kochavi will be promoted to General on Tuesday, and given command of the IDF, becoming the nation’s 22nd Chief of Staff.
Eisenkot issued his final command as Chief of Staff on Tuesday, along with a statement expressing his appreciation for having served as Israel’s top military officer.
“Hold your heads up high and accept my deepest appreciation for the honor of being a defender of our land,” Eisenkot wrote in his final order.
“As a soldier and as an officer for decades – and from today, like every other civilian in Israel who places their faith in you – I rely on you to secure the future. Preserve the spirit and strength of the Israel Defense Forces.”
Speaking at his swearing-in ceremony morning, Kochavi said he was honored to be given the opportunity to command.
“I look at this position with reverence, I see it as an honor.
“Soldiers, officers: the IDF is my other home. I love this organization and its soldiers, and I intend to lead it together with the general staff, in cooperation with all of the ranks, with a recognition of the strength of the people [under my command].
“Every soldier is a valuable asset which we have been given to watch over, and we are commanded to care for our service members.
“Now that I have accepted the responsibility to lead the army, I pledge to dedicate all my efforts… to strengthening this defensive force, and to prepare it for the current and future challenges, with a focus on increasing [the IDF’s] ability to strike the enemy, and to keep the army a lethal, efficient, and innovative force.”
Former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), who resigned in November, spoke Tuesday about the decision to appoint Kochavi, which had been made during his tenure at the Defense Ministry.
“One of the most important decisions during my time as Defense Minister was to choose the Chief of Staff. I am certain that Major General Aviv Kochavi, a venerable soldier and officer, will lead the IDF with determination and professionalism. Major General Kochavi was the right choice.”
Prior to his appointment as IDF Chief of Staff, Kochavi had served as Deputy Chief of Staff, chief of the IDF’s Northern Command, commander of the Gaza Division at the time of the 2005 Gaza Disengagement, and Military Intelligence Director.