|Born||April 23, 1964|
Kiryat Bialik, Israel
|Service/||Israel Defense Forces|
|Years of service||1982–present|
|Rank||Rav Aluf (Lieutenant general; highest rank)|
Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi (Hebrew: אביב כוכבי; born 1964) is the Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, having taken the oath of office on January 15, 2019. He was the commander of the Gaza Division during the unilateral disengagement, and also the head of the Northern Command. Between November 2010 and September 2014 Kochavi served as the Military Intelligence Director.
Early life and education
Kochavi was one of three children born to Shaul and Riva Kochavi. His father was a shop owner and his mother was a physical education teacher. He grew up in Kiryat Bialik in the Haifa District, and was a member of the HaMahanot HaOlim Labour Zionist youth movement. He studied at the Habonim school and ORT Kiryat Bialik school.
Kochavi has a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University and a master's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University.
Kochavi was drafted into the IDF in 1982. He volunteered as a paratrooper in the Paratroopers Brigade. He served as a soldier and a squad leader. In 1985 he became an infantry officer after completing Officer Candidate School and returned to the Paratroopers Brigade as a platoon leader. During his career Kochavi led the Brigade's Anti-tank company and later the 101st "Peten" (Elapidae) paratroop battalion in counter-guerrilla operations in South Lebanon. Afterwards he commanded a Regional Brigade in South Lebanon and a reserve Paratrooper Brigade. Kochavi led the 35th Paratroopers Brigade during the Second Intifada, including Operation Defensive Shield.
Afterwards he commanded the 98th Paratroopers Division and the Gaza Division. Later he was the head of the Operations Division of the IDF's Operations Directorate and the chief of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, including during Operation Pillar of Defense and Operation Protective Edge. In November 2014 he was appointed as the commander of the Northern Command. On May 2017 he was appointed as Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. In October, 2018, he was appointed as the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces.
In November 2019 Kochavi commanded the IDF in Operation Black Belt, when it fought against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), following the targeted killing of senior PIJ commander Baha Abu al-Ata in Gaza.
In 2002 during the Second Intifada while on the battlefield, Kochavi developed the use of a 5 kg hammer to break down walls and cross through homes in refugee camps to prevent his soldiers from being shot by snipers. This tactic has been copied by other armies such as the United States military.
Awards and decorations
Aviv Kochavi was awarded two campaign ribbons for his service during two wars.
- Judah Ari Gross, Liberman names pick for next IDF chief: Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, The Times of Israel, October 26, 2018
- Gal Perl Finkel, IDF promotes officers who think outside the box, but still follow the line, The Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2018.
- Gal Perl Finkel, It’s the man (or woman) who makes the job, The Jerusalem Post, November 19, 2018.
- Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Recollections of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, Ten Years Later Archived August 29, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Haaretz, March 30, 2012.
- Gal Perl Finkel, Changing the rules in the Gaza Strip comes with a cost, The Jerusalem Post, October 13, 2018.
- Gal Perl Finkel, Between fire and maneuver, or a combination of the two, The Jerusalem Post, September 06, 2018.
- Gal Perl Finkel, The IDF that Eisenkot leaves behind is ready, The Jerusalem Post, January 1, 2019.
- Anna Ahronheim, IDF: Operation Black Belt achieved its goals, The Jerusalem Post, December 24, 2019.
- Who is Major General Aviv Kochavi?, Israel National News, October 26, 2018
- Anna Ahronheim, The most vegan army in the world, The Jerusalem Post, October 03, 2018.