IDF MG (ret.) Yaacov Ayish

IDF MG (ret.) Yaacov Ayish is the Julian and Jenny Josephson Senior Vice President for Israeli Affairs at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).

General Ayish served in the IDF for 36 years and retired in 2016, concluding an accomplished career during which he attained the rank of Major General. Throughout his distinguished service, he served in core and operational command positions in the IDF ground forces and in senior command and managerial positions in the IDF General Staff. In his last position, General Ayish served for four years as Israel’s Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to the United States in Washington, D.C.

General Ayish was previously the Head of the IDF General Staff Operations Branch where he was responsible for planning and managing the operational activities of the Israeli Defense Forces according to political and strategic guidelines. He was also a member of the IDF General Staff forum, a position that was filled with sensitive and complex managerial challenges and which encompassed multidisciplinary systems and functional dynamism in an era of changes in the characteristics of all the arenas and the army’s activities.

Prior to this assignment, General Ayish headed the IDF’s overall renewal program. In this position, and in cooperation with the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co., he worked to make structural and organizational changes, improve the efficiency of resource-rich work processes, consolidate plans for deep budget cuts, and plan for improved efficiency and savings.

General Ayish’s term as the Ground Forces Chief of Staff coincided with the Second Lebanon War in 2006. In this role, he managed the operational-organizational activities of the IDF’s ground forces, leading the creation of short and long-term work-plans with high-volume budget allocation. He also managed a large armament R&D project with special focus on programs for quality and efficient use of resources and infrastructures.

General Ayish’s other command and staff positions included his positions as commander of a multi-corps division, commander of the 7th Brigade (Armored Corps), and commander of the 82nd Battalion (Armored Corps).

General Ayish holds a BA degree in Social & Political Sciences from Haifa University and an Executive MBA degree from Tel Aviv University. He is a graduate of the British Military Command and Staff College in Camberley and Harvard University’s Senior Executives in National and International Security program in Boston.


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