The IDF is stronger than ever because it learns from its mistakes, outgoing Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Tuesday in a rare interview as part of a campaign to raise funds for soldiers.
''We learned from our mistakes and we made some as well. I hope we've made changes wherever improvements were needed. In my opinion today we are much more prepared, more equipped - we're stronger',” said Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi.
Speaking on IDF Army Radio, he added that the Israeli army’s focus “is all about people, noting that that many of his friends and the soldiers he trained returned home on “stretchers to be buried.”
The Chief of Staff, who grew up in the ranks from the elite Golani brigade which he once commanded, emphasized he will continue his army service in the reserves after his term of office ends this summer.
The fundraising broadcasts, which were supposed to take place last week, had been postponed to today following the tragic Carmel fires. The decision was made both by the IDF and the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers.
Lt. Gen Ashkenazi also referred to the controversy surrounding his successor, Yoav Galant. Prior to his appointment by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, an officer leaked a fake document intended to damage Galant and pressure Barak into extending Ashkenazi’s term of office.
The outgoing Chief of Staff admitted that he should have shredded the document after receiving it from one of his aides. There was no suspicion that Ashkenazi was involved in the forgery or the leak.
He also said he fully backs Galant, adding that he “has all of the skills and experience to take the IDF wherever it needs to go.”