Herzi Halévy Succeeds Aviv Kohavi – Photo Highlights

This morning, Herzi Halevi officially replaced Aviv Kohavi as head of the IDF. Thus, he became Israel’s 23rd Chief of General Staff.

Herzi Halevi and Aviv Kohavi. Photo: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Halevi and Kohavi families, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Galant, and the bereaved families of the IDF.

Netanyahu made a speech: “We must show determination against the threats hanging over us, especially from Iran and its terrorist organizations. Tsahal, Mossad, Shabak will do everything to fight against our enemies. We will no longer be involved in wars, but if necessary, we will fight for those dear to us.”

Herzi Halevi and his wife Sharon receive the new prime minister and defense minister. Photo by Alex Kolomoisky/POOL***POOL PHOTO

Yoav Galant took the floor and gave a message to ministers Smotrich and Ben Gvir in the room: “The military system is based on the central idea: unity of command. I will act in such a way that the Chief of the General Staff fulfills his responsibility, I will make sure that external pressures, whether political, legal or other, do not stop at my level and do not pass through the door of the Tsahal. Each soldier has an officer and a commander. First of all, there is a Chief of General Staff who reports to the Minister of Defense.

Photo: Avi Ohio GPO

Halevi was born in 1967 in Jerusalem. From a pious Zionist family, she is the granddaughter of Haim Shalom Halevi (Gordin), a fighter within the Irgun, and the daughter of Rav Dov Beer Hacohen Kook, the niece of Rav Avraham Itshak Hacohen Kook. He was named after his uncle who was killed in the battle for Jerusalem during the Six Day War. He is married and has four children. Halevi holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and business administration from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master’s degree in national resource management from the National Security University in Washington.

Until today, Halevi was the Deputy Chief of Staff, and he held prestigious positions in the IDF, including commander of Sayeret Matkal and head of military intelligence.

Photo: IDF spokesperson

After the handover ceremony between Aviv Kohavi and Herzi Halevy, the new Chief of Staff visited the Mount Herzl monument with his predecessor, then went to the Kotel to pray.

Photo Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90

Photo Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90

Halevi and Kohavi were received by President Itzhak Herzog at the presidential residence.

Photo: Haim Zach GPO

“It is a very moving and joyful moment for two of the best sons of the State of Israel to take over the command of the Israel Defense Forces.

Without the IDF, neither the State of Israel, nor life in the State of Israel, nor the possibility of developing as a nation and state. Therefore, this is an opportunity to thank you and wish you great success,” President Herzog said. He also wanted to talk to the families of those who sacrificed their lives in the army to protect Israeli citizens.

The honor guard then welcomed Herzi Halev to the Headquarters before departing in honor of Aviv Kohavi.

Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

State authorities – the President and the Prime Minister – paid their respects to the outgoing Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi.

Photo: Avi Ohio GPO

Photo: Haim Zach GPO

Among the guests at the ceremony this morning was disabled IDF Itzik Saidyan, who set himself on fire in 2021 in front of the Ministry of Defense annex. With this desperate gesture, he wanted to protest the treatment of the disabled and the victims of war by the Israeli administration.

He was rushed to the Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer in critical condition with little chance of survival. The doctors fought, the people of Israel prayed.

Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

With ups and downs, his condition gradually improved. On the eve of Yom Hazikaron this year, he posted an audio message in which he said: “Hello dear people of Israel. I wanted to say thank you for all the blessings and wishes. Today I live, breathe, move and can stand a little, thanks to you. What is Yom Hazikaron for me? To me, this is what represents Israel best. Because in the end, we all support each other in grief.”

Saidyan has become a symbol in the struggle of the disabled in the IDF to defend their rights.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with him for a few minutes this morning, checked on his condition and wished him a full recovery.

Photo: Kobe Gideon GPO

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