Chief of Staff Kochavi to Fly to U.S. to Discuss Iran, Gaza

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with IDF chief Avi Kochavi, on Wednesday. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi will fly to Washington on Sunday and discuss a range of regional challenges with his American counterparts, more than a month after he was set to go to discuss the Iranian threat and other regional challenges.

It will be the first trip by an Israeli official with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leading the government. Kochavi will meet with Bennett ahead of his trip. They worked closely together during Bennett’s time as defense minister, and both are considered to be hawks on the Iran.

Kochavi is expected to attempt to persuade the Americans not to reenter the Iranian nuclear deal.

During the four-day visit Kochavi will hold working meetings with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, head of the U.S. Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, and head of the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Gen. Richard Clark.

During his trip, which will be his first as Israel’s top military officer, he will meet with his American counterparts to discuss common security challenges in the region, including issues related to the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear project, Tehran’s attempt to entrench itself in the Middle East, Hezbollah’s force-buildup efforts, and the implications of the Lebanese terror group’s precision missile project.

Kochavi will discuss joint force building with the United States and meet with leading think tanks and decision makers “as part of an ongoing international media and public diplomacy effort” that the IDF has been carrying out since the end of Operation Guardian of the Walls.

The visit to Washington that was scheduled to take place in April was postponed due to the conflict with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.