The Israeli Army Chief's Geometry of Death

For Aviv Kochavi, Gaza isn’t a place where people live, it’s a spatial problem to be solved. Its millions of Palestinian inhabitants were for him this month at most an obstacle to his ambition to magnify the scale of destruction

Aviv Kochavi's eye
Yagil Levy
Yagil Levy
Yagil Levy
Yagil Levy

Operation Guardian of the Walls was the first wartime test for Aviv Kochavi as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. History will decide how he fared, but in the meantime it’s illuminating to probe the singular character of his leadership as it’s been reflected in his deeds and rhetoric.

Few chiefs of staff began their tenure with such a highly determined tone of voice. On the occasion of his appointment, in January 2019, he undertook to present an army “that is lethal, efficient and innovative.” The word “lethal” drew flak. The IDF, like other armed forces, frequently makes an effort to blur the fact that it is a tool for operating violence.