IDF’s new chief of staff takes helm, supports ‘force, discretion and determination’

Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi says Israel must be willing to use “force, discretion and determination.”

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi has become the 22nd chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He took charge of the Israeli military Tuesday at a ceremony at defense headquarters in Tel Aviv. He replaces Gadi Eisenkot, who had served at the helm since February 2015.

In an address which he delivered at the ceremony, Kochavi, who received the rank of lieutenant general from Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the day, spoke of the awesome merit and responsibility in leading the military of the Jewish state.

“The national home is a wonderful creation like no other in the history of nations, but it is planted in a region that, for religious and national reasons, is trying to reject [Israel].

“To defend our national home, we need a sobered outlook, a fit military force, the willingness to use that force, discretion and determination,” Kochavi said.

Referring to his predecessor, the new chief of staff said, “In this spirit, Gadi [Eisenkot], the IDF acted under your leadership and has repeatedly proven its abilities as the defender of the borders and the interior, using its long arm to destroy any threats. During your tenure, the IDF bolstered its units and increased its preparedness.”

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Eisenkot also addressed the handover ceremony, summing up his own military career. “At the end of 40 years of service and four years as the IDF chief, I conclude a path that became my life’s mission,” he said.

Netanyahu spoke at the gathering of Eisenkot’s end of term as military chief, saying that “over the past four years, we have dealt with great challenges: the changing fronts in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and other places.”

The prime minister spoke of the “main factor facing us: Iran and its terror proxies. We acted responsibly and with discretion to stop those who seek to harm us from growing stronger.”
In referring to Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, Netanyahu said: “I’m telling you, get out of there fast. We won’t stop attacking.”

In an interview with the New York Times published Sunday, Eisenkot said that Israel had “struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit” in a campaign to thwart the growing Iranian presence in Syria.

On the other hand, Netanyahu said that Eisenkot contributed towards improving ties between Israel and Muslim states by meeting with military leaders from such countries.

“Leading Muslim nations are getting closer to us,” said Netanyahu at Tuesday’s ceremony. “They realize we’re not their enemy, but a vital ally to lean on. By growing our military, our economy and our diplomacy, we have turned Israel into a rising world power.”

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