What does Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi see when he looks in the mirror? We can assume that the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces sees a great patriot. A celebrated battlefield commander. A cunning tactician and a profound and farsighted strategist. A man of the pen and the sword. Ehud Barak 2.0. A glorious hero, an officer and a gentleman, handsome, commander of one of the most powerful armies in the universe. He looks in the mirror and sees the best and most moral Jew in the world. The victory over the Holocaust.

Yes, it’s a pity the government didn’t pass a national budget during the coronavirus years, he says to himself, they messed up the multiyear plan that was supposed to be his legacy to coming generations, but that’s the only blot on his record. And it wasn’t even his fault. And in any case, never mind, after all, he left them a book of his thoughts. And recently a letter to the storm troopers. He believes that he breathes rarefied air. What does the future hold for him? Profitable business deals, prestigious lectures, perhaps a national leadership role? But the truth is that he is a chief of staff of the sewers, the leader of a gang in the West Bank.

There is poetic justice in the fact that the designated national security minister, the fascist Itamar Ben-Gvir, has asked Kochavi for clarifications regarding his letter, in which he called to order the soldiers in Hebron who treated a group of occupation-resisting Jews like Palestinians, like enemies, with arbitrary violence and horrifying hooliganism, out of contempt for their civil and human rights, and out of a Kahanist worldview.

There is poetic justice in the fact that Kochavi will be forced to give explanations to a bullying settler who mourns Meir Kahane and admires Baruch Goldstein. Under Kochavi, the symbiosis between the army and the settlers was closer than ever. Under him, the violence of the settlers against Palestinians flourished more than ever. Under Kochavi the unjustified violence by brutal IDF troops against anti-occupation Jews rose to unprecedented heights. Under him, the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank, including children, are worth less than ever before, and they are being killed en masse. Under him, the apartheid grew stronger.

Under him, the IDF became an army of which every Israeli Jew with a conscience is ashamed and doesn’t want to see his children serving in it. (Therefore they tend to serve in the Kirya, IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, which among Tel Aviv leftists whose main area of sociopolitical expertise is self-deception, is considered a different army, one that marches on sushi and has nothing to do with the storm trooper branch in the West Bank.) Not just ashamed, not just adamant that the IDF doesn’t represent him, symbolize him or act on his behalf. He loathes it.

Kochavi’s letter is pathetic and belated. It’s a joke. It proves, among other things, that he is a poor, weak and blind commander in chief. Every hour, every day of his term, the IDF has been operating in the West Bank in contradiction of the values of statesmanlike behavior and morality described by the chief of staff in the letter. The entire chain of command below him disseminates a different spirit, that of Ben-Gvir. If the letter reflects Kochavi’s values, he must rescue the little that remains of his dignity and quit immediately, because it proves that he does not control the conduct of the soldiers in the field, who openly disobey him, blatantly and before the cameras, day after day, hour after hour.

It proves that he is a total failure, both professionally and ethically. There is poetic justice in the fact that Kochavi was ordered to provide explanations to Ben-Gvir, because during his tenure Ben-Gvir has become a commander whose spirit prevails in the field. Kochavi’s weak-mindedness and cowardice were among the clear signs of the Israeli elite’s capitulation to the settlers, of their self-abnegation to them. He dressed fascism in a uniform and gave it the imprimatur of probity, and he cannot be forgiven.

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What Does the IDF Chief See in the Mirror?

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28.11.2022

What does Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi see when he looks in the mirror? We can assume that the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces sees a great patriot. A celebrated battlefield commander. A cunning tactician and a profound and farsighted strategist. A man of the pen and the sword. Ehud Barak 2.0. A glorious hero, an officer and a gentleman, handsome, commander of one of the most powerful armies in the universe. He looks in the mirror and sees the best and most moral Jew in the world. The victory over the Holocaust.

Yes, it’s a pity the government didn’t pass a national budget during the coronavirus years, he says to himself, they messed up the multiyear plan that was supposed to be his legacy to coming generations, but that’s the only blot on his record. And it wasn’t even his fault. And in any case, never mind, after all, he left them a book of his thoughts. And recently a letter to the storm troopers. He believes that he breathes rarefied air. What does the future hold for him?........

© Haaretz


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