The graduation ceremony of the IAF's 166th flight course took place on Thursday, and leaders who spoke at the ceremony mentioned the tense situation along Israel’s northern borders, saying that the IDF is ready for any scenario and reminding Israel's enemies that the army has acted and will act in the face of security threats.
Particularly blunt was IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz who, in a rare statement about the situation in the north said, “Syria is still bleeding, and in Lebanon, the flames are creeping up on [Hizbullah chief] Nasrallah. In the face of this changing reality we need to be ready and more prepared than ever."
Gantz’s remarks come in the wake of an Israeli assessment that the Hizbullah terror group is at one of its lowest points in years. The organization is now fighting on three fronts: against Israel, in Syria, and in Lebanon, where the group has been slammed for its support of President Bashar Al-Assad.
Speaking at the same ceremony, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "The Air Force is prepared for any mission, near or far, and those who need to know that we not only talk but also act - know that. Over the past year we worked on many fronts, some visible and some hidden. In all of them, the mission was accomplished by the IAF pilots and navigators.”
The prime minister added, "We have defensive capabilities and offensive capabilities and we know to how to combine them. The future of the Jews depends on the Jewish State, and the future of the Jewish State depends primarily on its army and security forces."
The commander of the IAF, Major General Amir Eshel, said at the ceremony, “The reality has forced many things on us over the past year, most of them distant and out of sight. The IAF must be ready for any mission. We do not have a second chance.”
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon spoke about the situation in Iran and told the young pilots, "You and your friends must be prepared for that moment when you will be required to apply your skills and hurt those who want to disrupt our lives here. Those who work tirelessly to arm themselves, transfer dangerous weapons through air, land and sea or build long-term unconventional capability which threatens our cities and our citizens and undermines the stability of the entire Middle East.”