IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz spoke at the closing ceremony of Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday, reiterating the dedication of the IDF to the Jewish people - and its past, present, and future.
"Every time I attend this ceremony, I am struck by the special strength that characterizes those who sit here [tonight]," Gantz began. "A person who is raised with [the value of] remembering the Holocaust at home, who is raised on the stories of heroism and painful memories, as a combat soldier and commander for many years, I feel a special connection to this place, to this ceremony, and what it represents."
Gantz stated that Holocaust Memorial Day represents, to him, "the right set of values, rare courage, and unwavering faith in the holiness of life." He related those values to the story of Hungarian Jewry, whose decimation in the Holocaust is marked on Monday.
Gantz praised the heroism and dedication of the Holocaust survivors to establish a homeland for the Jewish people, and declared that the IDF seeks to preserve those values.
"The same values, the same lessons we teach the IDF and its commanders [today]," Gantz stated. "The IDF is, and will be in the future, an army who views human life, and human dignity, as fundamental values."
"The IDF strives to preserve the drives, honor the legacies, and continue the dreams of Holocaust survivors," he continued. "The IDF will continue to represent and protect the Jewish people here and abroad [. . ] it is our obligation to protect the Jewish people in the present, so that we can honor the memories and legacy of the past and ensure a Jewish homeland in the future."
"For this, the State of Israel was established, and for this, the Israeli Defense Forces were established," he concluded.