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An Officer and a Mensch

Kay Wilson - 25 January 2022

The Israeli Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, has fast knocked up a reputation for his brilliant military strategic tactics which outwitted Hamas during the last war in Gaza. Under his command, the IDF moved large amounts of tanks and artillery to the border with Gaza and then “accidentally” leaked to the media that there was going to be a movement of ground forces into Gaza itself. The leak was purposefully ambiguous leading the media to believe that Israeli troops are actually moving in for a ground invasion. The leak fooled the international media who in turn unwittingly fooled Hamas. The so-called invasion caused the terrorists to run for the tunnels. Now that the enemy were all in one place, Israel could bomb the tunnels and finish off as many terrorists as possible without causing too much extraneous damage. All this took place in just 35 minutes.

Aviv Kochavi | Photo: Wikimedia Commons by IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, CC BY-SA 3.0

Apart from his quick-witted military thinking, Kochavi is tall, handsome, eloquent, has a deep voice and piercing Paul Newman eyes. He has excelled in whatever he has set his mind on. His career is clean and straight out of a military journal. Among his achievements, he set up the IDF’s innovation division, a multi-dimensional unit, and also promoted a conceptual document to meet the challenges.

No doubt all these things have added to his popularity, but these things are not the things that make him one of the most beloved generals of all times. Simply put, Aviv Kochavi, is a mensch of a man.

“Regularly, Kochavi visits his injured soldiers no matter what their rank”

Holding the highest military position in Israel, and arguably one of the most important positions in the Middle East, he could be forgiven for letting the power go to his head, but he hasn’t. Regularly, Kochavi visits his injured soldiers no matter what their rank. He is never in a rush. From the hospital bed he goes to their parents’ homes to spend time with the soldiers’ families.

A Facebook post from a mother of a special-needs soldier recently once again highlighted the compassion of our big chief tough guy. The Israeli army has a voluntary program called “Great in Uniform” for special needs soldiers. The unique program helps integrate those who want to volunteer in the IDF. Some of the special needs soldiers go on to have elite roles due to their exceptional skills.

At this year’s event for the latest recruits, a mother of one of the soldiers made a post with a photo of Kochavi hugging her child.

It was a post that went viral.

“Time after time we are told in the Bible that we are the smallest among nations and not to let pride get in the way”

Not only did the Israeli Chief of Staff come to the event to honour these volunteer soldiers, he saluted them and gave each and every one a bear hug!

Time after time we are told in the Bible that we are the smallest among nations and not to let pride get in the way. Elijah the Prophet learned that God is in the still small voice and not necessarily in the powerful things. Something about Kochavi is a reminder to us all, that it is not power and strength which have the biggest impact on our lives, but little things such as a hug which turn out to be the greatest things of all.

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