Aviv Kochavi
Aviv KochaviGideon Markowicz/Flash90

Former IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi on Monday gave his first address since the war began at a ceremony commemorating the convoy of 35 underground fighters who fell attempting to defend Gush Etzion during the War of Independence.

"The State of Israel is contending with a large number of enemies. The days of total war have not ended, along with limited counterterrorism operations. The IDF is fighting on several fronts and is doing so in the best manner. The IDF is a strong and advanced military and will always be the defensive wall of the State of Israel."

He noted that "painfully, on October 7th, that wall was completely breached. It was both a shocking and stirring event. It obligates a deep and incisive investigation. We need to study from all angles, all fields, and from a multi-year perspective, including the time when I commanded the IDF."

Kochavi emphasized that he takes responsibility for decisions made during his term. "I'm responsible for actions and decisions made in the IDF during my term and I ask myself to no end what we could have done differently.

He criticized the politicians and claimed: "People with influence are going down a divisive path which creates a security and existential threat. It's not right to demand that the disagreements stop - but the extreme and poisonous remarks must stop. Above all, leave the military out of these discussions, and let the IDF win. Don't give the enemies another opportunity to harm us because of a lack of unity.

"These are difficult days, but they may not destroy all we've built, the many accomplishments, our lively democracy, and our values. We have no other land and there's nowhere else for us to go. We will continue to defend ourselves against external threats, but we will need to defend no less against internal threats," the former Chief of Staff concluded.