The former head of Israel’s air defenses Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav takes over as military spokesperson, replacing Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman, who will soon travel to Washington, DC, to become the next defense attache to the United States.
The switch took place at the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit headquarters in north Tel Aviv, at a ceremony overseen by the outgoing head of IDF Operations, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, who is himself due to be replaced in his position later this evening.
In their speeches, Haliva, Zilberman, and Kochav all touted the importance of truthfulness for military spokespeople, as well as the achievements of the military during last month’s 11-day battle between the IDF and terror groups in the Gaza Strip, known in Israel as Operation Guardian of the Walls. This comes as the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit faces ongoing allegations that it misled journalists during the conflict by telling reporters the military was launching a ground invasion when it was not, as part of an elaborate ruse meant to trick Hamas into sending its fighters into harm’s way.
“The basis of our actions is and will always be the truth. The IDF is a reliable, responsible, honest, and straightforward source with no replacement. We are solely committed to speaking the truth,” Kochav says in his remarks.
In his remarks, Haliva, who oversaw many aspects of the fighting in Gaza last month, defends the IDF’s actions in the enclave, saying it strived to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties.
“I can tell you now: the IDF during Operation Guardian of the Walls fired five costly missiles, of the most advanced variety we have. While they were in the air, new, up-to-date intelligence came in and it became unclear if uninvolved people were at the target. We decided to divert the munitions from their target, into the sea. We called off the strike at the last second. This was one case. There were many others like it,” Haliva says.