IDF Chief of Staff Given US Military’s Legion of Merit Award

Chief of General Staff of the IDF, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, during a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Nov 9, 2021. Photo by Shalev Shalom/TPS
By Pesach Benson • 22 November, 2022

Jerusalem, 22 November, 2022 (TPS) — IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi was given the US military’s Legion of Merit Award on Monday evening for strengthening strategic ties between Israel and the US.

The award was presented in Washington by Kochavi’s American counterpart, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

Kochavi is making his final visit to the US as IDF Chief of Staff for talks with senior Pentagon and national security officials. The meetings are primarily focused on the Iranian threat and the security situation in Judea and Samaria.

He is also due to to visit the US Central Command (CENTCOM) headquarters in Tampa, Fla.

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During Kochavi’s tenure, President Donald Trump moved Israel from the responsibility of European Command (EUCOM) to CENTCOM in 2021. Trump ordered the shift during the final days of his presidency to streamline coordination between the US, IDF and the militaries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Since then, Israel has hosted various joint military exercises that were unprecedented for their Arab participation aimed towards countering Iranian threats.

Kochavi is due to step down from his position on Jan. 17, 2023 after a three-year term. He will be replaced by Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi.

Other former IDF officers who have been awarded the Legion Merit in recent years include Chiefs of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi, and former Commander of the Air Force Amikam Norkin.


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