IDF Chief of Staff: Only a Strong Military Can Bring About Peace

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi spoke at the official Memorial Day ceremony at the Kotel (Western Wall) on Sunday night.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz,

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi spoke at the official Memorial Day ceremony at the Kotel (Western Wall) on Sunday night, saying that only a strong and determined army can bring peace.

"We are a people that understands that our freedom still costs blood, a people who have tasted the bitter taste of loss," Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi said.
"As our one hand is extended in peace, our other hand is well-placed on the trigger guard." - Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi


"On this day, holy to us, and at this occasion, we will say to our neighbors who arise against us and to our enemies: we are a stiff-necked people; hurt, but not tired. Even as our one hand is extended in peace, our other hand is well-placed on the trigger guard to meet any enemy and oppressor. No one should test our ability. We will stand up to any challenge, firm and united. No, it is not arrogance that I express, but rather my familiarity and knowledge of the IDF and of the State of Israel, and faith in the justness of our cause," the Chief of Staff said evenly as he read from his prepared remarks.

Turning to the families of the fallen soldiers over the generations, Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi continued, "Your comfort is in the success of the State of Israel; your comfort is in the IDF, the people's army; your comfort is in the creation of a firm and united Israeli society with faith in the justness of its path."

The IDF chief emphasized the geopolitical function of the Israeli army, saying that "only a strong and deterrent IDF, determined and high quality, will bring the region's leaders to the decision that negotiation with the State of Israel will take place only at the negotiation table and not on the field of battle; only such an IDF will bring peace."

Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi also talked about the Second Lebanon War, in which 119 soldiers were killed, and told the audience that the IDF is working to fix problems revealed in the war. Ashkenazi praised the soldiers who fought in the war, saying that when the stories of their bravery are made public, no one will argue that the young generation is worse than previous generations. "Acts of heroism have not faded away," the Chief of Staff said, "and that is a point of pride for all of us. We must do everything in order to merit the heroism and sacrifice of the warriors in this war."

The IDF officer concluded his remarks with a quotation from the Bible, referring to a future time when violence would pass from the earth.





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