Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz agreed to extend the term of IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi for another year. The decision will be submitted for approval by the government at its coming meeting. The prime minister is convinced that there will be wide support among the members of the government.
Defense Minister Gantz said this morning that "Chief of Staff Kochavi led he IDF during the last two-and-a-half years in significant processes of force-building and multidimensional operational doctrine while combining all the branches and increasing lethality. The extension of the appointment will enable the continuation of realizing the components of the multiyear "Momentum" plan, which were expressed in the unprecedented capabilities that the IDF displayed in operation "Guardian of the Walls", and the operational activities that took place during the recent period in various arenas of warfare.
During the last year under Chief of Staff Kochavi, the IDF harnessed its civilian capabilities for assisting national missions, led by the struggle against COVID-19, which reinforced the IDF's status as an inseparable layer of the Israeli society and the civilian national emergency system. The chief of staff is an anchor of command and operational stability. The extension of his term at this time of regional changes and challenges from a variety of arenas is critical for the security of Israel."
A commentary on extending Kochavi's term that we published four days ago can be found here (Hebrew only).
Considering all factors, no added value in replacing chief of staff at this time
To sum up, it is not yet clear whether the management of the operation contributed to the extension of Kochavi's term or not. On one hand, Netanyahu could put the blame upon him, and not extend his term. On the other hand, it does not appear that under the current diplomatic, economic and political circumstances there is added value in replacing the chief of staff at the end of this year.
From an economic standpoint, there is no government, no budget, and there is a deficit because of COVID-19. So a new chief of staff would not be able to do anything more than what Kochavi is doing in terms of force-building. And in the absence of political vision, what does it matter who the chief of staff is? At least Kochavi can provide operational stability in the military until the new government stabilizes.
From a political standpoint, it is possible that Netanyahu and Gantz want to keep Kochavi for another year in order to see how critical processes for Israel develop in the coming months, such as where the U.S, is heading on the Palestinian issue (final status negotiations?), where Iran is heading after the return to the nuclear accords (more terror in the Middle East?), how the economic crisis is developing in Lebanon (attrition with Hezbollah?), and how the coming elections will influence the future of Syria (Iranian entrenchment). However, it is worthwhile for the replacement of the chief of staff to be carried out under conditions in which there is as little military uncertainty as possible.