Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shouted at then-defense minister Avigdor Liberman when he was told that Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi was chosen as the next IDF Chief of Staff, army radio reported Sunday.
According to the report, Liberman called Netanyahu-who was on a then unreported trip to Oman- to inform him that he was planning to announce that he would be nominating Kochavi for the military’s top position, knowing that the Prime Minister preferred Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir for the role.
After Netanyahu reportedly asked Liberman to wait until he returned to Israel, he then yelled at him and threatened not to take the nomination to a cabinet vote.
Liberman ignored the prime minister’s threat and announced that he had chosen Kochavi to become the military’s 22nd chief of staff. It took several hours before the Prime Minister’s office issued a statement congratulating Kochavi.
A final vote to approve Kochavi as the 22nd IDF Chief of Staff is expected to be confirmed by cabinet on Sunday November 25th.
Last week Netanyahu, who has taken on the role of defense minister following Liberman’s resignation two weeks ago, approved the appointed of Zamir as Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF.
Born in 1964, Kochavi enlisted in the Paratroopers Brigade in 1982 and has served in multiple command roles throughout his career.
He served Eastern Division Commander of the Lebanon Liaison Unit (1998-1999) and Commander of the Paratrooper Brigade (2001-2003) where he commanded troops against troops against Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank during the Second Intifada. He also commanded the IDF’s elite airborne division before serving as Commander of the Gaza Division from 2004-2006.
He also held several key positions in the General Staff, commanding the Operations Division, Head of Military Intelligence (2010-2014), Head of the Northern Command and then as Deputy Chief of Staff under Eisenkot.
Kochavi has a BA in philosophy from Hebrew University a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University and a Masters degree from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.