Israel’s cabinet has approved Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi as the new Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) replacing Lt. Hen. Gadi Eisenkot on Sunday.
He is scheduled to take over the position on January 15. Kochavi, the former head of Military Intelligence and the Northern Command, and the current deputy chief of staff, will be the 22nd commander of the IDF, Times of Israel reported Sunday.
The cabinet’s approval came hours after reports emerged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had opposed Kochavi’s appointment, instead preferring his former military secretary Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir for the role, the news daily reported.
According to Army Radio, last month Netanyahu shouted at then-defense minister Avigdor Liberman who was said to have taken advantage of the fact that the prime minister was out of the country on a then-unreported visit to Muscat in order to appoint Kochavi over Zamir.
Last Thursday, Netanyahu announced that he had chosen Zamir for the position of IDF deputy chief of staff.
Kochavi’s candidacy was approved last week by the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee, a vetting panel led by former judge and state comptroller Eliezer Goldberg.
From a pool of four candidates, Kochavi, 54, was seen as the front-runner for the position, having served as the head of the IDF Northern Command and head of Military Intelligence, following years as a field commander in the Paratroopers Brigade.