Yaalon Enters Defense Minister's Office

Moshe Yaalon to head his first IDF General Staff meeting as Defense Minister Tuesday.

Gil Ronen,

Barak and Yaalon toast the new minister
Barak and Yaalon toast the new minister
Ariel Hermoni, Defense Min. Spox

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon entered his new office at the Defense Ministry Tuesday and has replaced Ehud Barak.

Yaalon was to head his first IDF General Staff meeting as Defense Minister later Tuesday.

At a ceremony in the IDF's Hakirya headquarters in Tel Aviv, Barak told Yaalon, "You are receiving an establishment that is in good hands – loyal, professional hands – which know where we stand and where we are going."

In a possible reference to the defense budget debate, he said, "We need to fight for the things that have to be fought over, and to accept the decisions when the political echelon makes them, and then go over to the other side of the table and get things done."

Barak lauded Yaalon as a person who, "both in uniform and out of uniform, knows where he stands, is stable, does not zigzag, says what he thinks, thinks what he says – he's right there."

"I feel a sacred awe this morning," Yaalon said, "because I know the nature of this heavy burden."

"I remember the day I completed my duty as chief of staff and the feeling of relief I had, and this morning the heavy weight is on the shoulders again and so I really do recognize how great the assignment is."

"IN these moments when I accept the heavy responsibility, I obviously see in front of my eyes many of my friends, especially the first ones who were killed next to me during the War of Attrition, members of the [Nahal] nucleus group [as part of which he joined the military], and commanders who died along the way, and of course, the wounded of the IDF, who are also represented in this room, who bear the scars of war on their bodies, in their hearts and throughout their lives, and I of course remember the missing, whom we must continue to make every effort to bring back to our country.

"I wish to all of us that we will be able to withstand the greatness of the mission and that together we will know how to bring security, quiet and in the future, maybe even peace, in the face of the power of the State of Israel."