Israeli Army Gets New Deputy Chief as Aviv Kochavi Named for IDF's No.2 Spot

Maj. Gen. Amikam Nurkin, currently head of the Planning Division of the General Command, to replace Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel as head of the Israel Air Force.

Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi
Alon Ron

Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi will be the next deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, the IDF spokesman announced on Thursday. He will take up his new post during the course of the next year.

Kochavi was nominated by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkott and approved by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Former Southern Command commander Maj, Gen. Sami Turgeman, who was also in the running for the post, is expected to retire from the army.

Also announced on Thursday was the appointment of Maj. Gen. Amikam Nurkin, currently head of the Planning Division of the General Command, as head of the Israel Air Force. He will replace Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, who is expected to resign from the army.

Currently commander of the IDF's Northern Command, Kochavi will be replaced by Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, who has headed the Home Front Command for the past year-and-a-half.

Nurkin will be replaced at the Planning Division by Brig. Gen. Amir Aboulafiya, who will be promoted to the rank of major general, while Brig. Gen Tamir Yadai will take over the Home Front, also with a promotion to major general.

Kochavi is a paratrooper who served as a brigade commander during Operation Defensive Shield, a large-scale operation conducted during the Second Intifada. He commanded the Gaza Division during the disengagement in 2005 and the abduction by Hamas of Gilad Shalit in 2006.

Kochavi replaced Amos Yadlin as head of military intelligence in 2010, his first General Staff position. He left the role in 2014.

Kochavi will replace Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, who sparked a controversy when he said on Holocaust Remembrance Day in May that recent developments in Israeli society were comparable to processes that unfolded in Europe before the Holocaust.

Golan later published a clarification, saying he “did not intend to compare the IDF and Israel to what happened in Germany 70 years ago. Such a comparison would be absurd and baseless.”