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New IDF chief faces multiple challenges

Israel’s new IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi faces multiple challenges on nearby fronts, further away and also vis-a-vis his boss, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
New Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi attends a ceremony at the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, on January 15, 2019, in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
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There was a changing of the guard on Jan. 15 in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF): Former Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot was replaced by Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi. Kochavi, “the philosopher officer,” was nicknamed in his youth “Mel Gibson” by the paratroopers due to a striking resemblance to the actor. Now he has received the reins to the most powerful army in the Middle East and one of the strongest in the world. But together with that comes the responsibility for innumerable headaches, bubbling powder kegs and ticking bombs scattered over diverse fronts.

An Israeli chief of staff does not receive even a hundred seconds of grace. Kochavi’s first test is already anticipated for Jan. 18 on the fences of the Gaza Strip. Again, Hamas has not received Qatar's money in cash as the third installment of aid to Gaza; meanwhile, the level of violence continues to rise toward the possibility of a new explosion. The Gaza issue is not the most dangerous of the threats faced by Israel, but it is urgent at this stage because of the lack of any checks and balances vis-a-vis Hamas, which has its back to the wall. In fact, Hamas has shown in the past that when under pressure, it will react violently against Israel. In addition, Israel lacks a strategic goal regarding Gaza-Hamas that could be implemented by the political echelons — in other words, by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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