Air defense chief Ran Kochav tapped as next IDF spokesperson

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi named air defense commander Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav as the military’s next spokesperson on Friday morning to replace Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman.

The move was approved by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Last week, Zilberman was named as the next defense attaché to the United States, a posting that comes with a promotion to the rank of major general.

The military said Kochav will enter the position in the coming months, but did not yet set a specific date for the change.

Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman, who was nominated to take over as the next IDF spokesperson on June 13, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

Zilberman has served as IDF spokesperson for nearly two years, entering the position amid controversy, as the initial candidate for the job, Gil Messing, bowed out after it came to light that he had acted as an undercover police agent during a 2015 corruption investigation of the Yisrael Beytenu party.

Concurrently with Zilberman’s tenure, public trust in the military dropped to its lowest level since 2008, according to a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute released earlier this year.

Kochav is the latest in a line of career military officers to command the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, ending a previously common practice of naming civilians with a deep background in journalism or communications for the role.

Kochav, who is married and has four children, has served in the military since 1989, mostly in the Israeli Air Force’s air defense array. From 2016 to 2018, he served as the commander of the Military Police.

Kochav has a bachelor’s degree in communications and business management from Tel Aviv’s College of Management and master’s degrees from both the US military’s Air Command and Staff College, and Haifa University.

Source Link: https://www.timesofisrael.com/air-defense-chief-ran-kochav-tapped-as-next-idf-spokesperson/

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