Israeli army chief praises IDF innovation: It’s the biggest startup of them all

“The IDF is the biggest start-up organization in the country, maybe one of the biggest in the world,”  Kochavi said on Wednesday.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Chief of staff Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi told this year’s graduating class of the National Security College on Wednesday that the IDF is a key contributor to Israeli society and prosperity specifically because it is made up of draftees.

“One of the reasons that the State of Israel leads in entrepreneurship in general, and in the innovation sphere in particular, is the human-social phenomenon that is created from the very existence of compulsory conscription,” he said.

The need to take in young men and women from all social strata, economic, educational and ethnic backgrounds, “gives everyone an equal chance to develop, each one according to their abilities,” the chief of staff said.

Army service in many cases also leads to the discovery of heretofore hidden talents, he noted, as well as the build-up of self-confidence and other qualities needed back in civilian life.

“A country whose people have experienced challenges, overcome difficulties, functioned as part of a team, motivated people, carried out tasks, some at high risk, and experienced leadership, is a country constantly injected with fresh energy in the form of people with self-confidence, to whom initiative, a feeling of capability, creativity, and daring are an inner code to which they have become accustomed,” Kochavi said.

“The IDF is the biggest start-up organization in the country, maybe one of the biggest in the world,” he added. “A start-up for developing human capital and a community using unique methods.”

The result is good for more than just the security of the state, and “if the model of ‘army and nation’ were to end, he said, “Israeli society and its economy would lose a significant asset.”

In general, Kochavi noted that the IDF contributes both directly and indirectly to the economic success of the country.

Indirectly, because “Security and stability are the walls that protect the wheels of the economy and enable them to run freely,” he said.

But the army itself “is the engine that pulls after it hundreds of cars of heavy industry, technology-rich industry, companies and factories… that affect the Israeli economy from one end to the other.”

The final virtue of the IDF that the chief of staff extolled was how it manages to connect people to their heritage and the concept of service.

“The IDF strengthens the… identification of those who serve it with the state and the values ​​of the Jewish people, upholds the principle of statehood and democracy, emphasizes the basic values ​​of truth and honesty, fairness and mutual assistance, and above all teaches us how to participate in something greater than you or me.”