Major General Aviv Kochavi on Tuesday morning receives the rank of Lieutenant General to become the IDF’s 22nd Chief of Staff. Kochavi replaces Gadi Inzakot, who concludes more than 40 years of service.
Kochavi, married with three daughters, is vegan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, and a second master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University.
He grew up in Kiryat Bialik, near Haifa, and was member of Zionist youth movement Mahanot HaOlim. He was drafted in 1982 and served in the Paratroopers Brigade. In 1985 he completed officers school and returned to the Paratroopers Brigade as a platoon leader. Kochavi led the Brigade’s Anti-tank company and later the 101st Peten battalion in counter-guerrilla operations in South Lebanon. He moved on to command a regional brigade in South Lebanon and a reserve Paratrooper Brigade.
Kochavi led the 35th Paratroopers Brigade during the Second Intifada, including the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield that demolished the terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.
Kochavi is credited with the idea of using a 5 kg hammer to break down walls and cross through homes in refugee camps to prevent soldiers from being shot by snipers. This tactic was later copied by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kochavi later commanded the 98th Paratroopers Division and the Gaza Division. Later he served as the head of the Operations Division of the IDF’s Operations Directorate and the chief of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, during Operation Pillar of Defense and Operation Protective Edge. In November 2014 he was appointed commander of the Northern Command. In May 2017 he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff. In October 2018, he was appointed the next IDF Chief of Staff.