Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, who is on a working visit to Washington, received an unexpected honor on Thursday when he was presented with the second-highest degree of the Legion of Merit award by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.
A statement that accompanied the citation hailed Eizenkot’s “exceptionally meritorious service as chief of the General Staff of the IDF” from February 2015 to August 2016.
Eizenkot’s “contribution to the strategic cooperation between the United States and Israel will have a lasting effect on both countries,” the statement said.
The statement said Eizenkot’s exceptional leadership and personal involvement are a credit to him, to the IDF, and to the State of Israel.
Eizenkot is not the first head of the IDF to be awarded the Legion of Merit. Former IDF chiefs Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi were also given the award during their terms as heads of the Israeli military.