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Liberman's pick Kochavi approved as next IDF chief-of-staff

Israeli General Aviv Kochavi is pictured in Jerusalem on February 25, 2014
Hadas PARUSH (AFP)

Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi is set to become the Israeli Defense Forces’ next chief-of-staff after his selection was approved by the senior appointments advisory committee on Sunday.

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced Kochavi as his pick on Friday after reaching the decision that he was “the most suitable and most experienced candidate to serve as chief-of-staff,” according to a statement from the minister’s office.

"The unique combination of the many positions he held in the IDF, his proven command capabilities during times of emergency, the great esteem he enjoys in the IDF and the great success with which he has carried out missions over the years make him the most suitable for leading the IDF in the coming years," it added.

Kochavi will take up the post at the start of 2019, succeeding General Gadi Eisenkot whose finishes his term this year after serving nearly four years as the Israeli army's top officer.

Kochavi has served as head of the army's northern command and as military intelligence chief during the 2014 war against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza.

Military commentators said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had disagreed with the choice of Kochavi, a graduate of Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

Kochavi's final appointment to the cabinet must be approved by the Goldberg Committee, where the defense minister will present on Sunday.

Porte-parole de Tsahal

Kochavi was born in 1964 and joined the IDF's elite Paratroopers Brigade in 1982.

Kochavi has served as head of the army's northern command and as military intelligence chief during the 2014 war against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza.

Netanyahu, despite previous reports of his disagreement with Liberman's choice, welcomed the choice of Kochavi, a graduate of Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

"Kochavi is the most worthy candidate to be the IDF's next chief of staff," Netanyahu said in a statement.

Eisenkot, the current chief of staff, congratulated his deputy on being selected to succeed him, the army said in a statement, adding that Kochavi is "a distinguished officer with extensive combat experience from multiple combat theaters."

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