New Israeli army chief promises 'deadly, efficient' military

New Israeli army chief promises 'deadly, efficient' military
2 min read
15 January, 2019
Israel's new army chief has taken the reins of the country's military at a welcoming ceremony in Tel Aviv.
Aviv Kochavi [L] once cancelled a trip to London for fear of arrest [AFP]

Israel's new military chief has taken office at a ceremony in Tel Aviv, and promised an even more "deadly, efficient" response from his troops despite hundreds of protesters killed on the Gaza border over the past year.

Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, 54, was promoted from major-general at the ceremony at the military headquarters, becoming the country's 22nd military chief.

Kochavi, who served in Israel's brutal 2014 Gaza war among other campaigns, pledged at the event to focus on "strengthening our attack capabilities towards our enemies, and presenting an army that is deadly, efficient and modern, that preserves its mission and it's uniqueness".

He replaces Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who is retiring after 40 years of service.

Kochavi previously served as commander of military intelligence, chief of northern command and most recently as Eisenkot's deputy chief of staff.

He also commanded the Gaza division during Israel's 2005 withdrawal from the Strip.

In 2006, Kochavi cancelled a trip to study at London's Royal College of Defence Studies following legal adive that he could be arrested on arrival for alleged war crimes committed in Palestinian territories.

Kochavi's inauguration comes as Israel's military completed its operation to destroy Hizballah's tunnel network from Lebanon, as it appears to be dropping its ambiguity over hundreds of strikes it carried out against Iran in Syria.

At the welcoming ceremony Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu used the opportunity to reiterate his stance on Iran and its alleged development of nuclear weapons.

"We must poke holes in Iran's lies. We made that apparent with the revelation of Israel's secret nuclear archive. We did it by destroying the attempted preparations of Hizballah," Netanyahu said.

"I advise them to leave [Syria] quickly, because we will continue with our assertive policy, as promised, without fear and without a break."