Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with members of the IDF's General Staff Forum Thursday, and gave them a security briefing for the first time since the appointment of the new chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
In the open part of the meeting, Barak said: "I have full confidence in the ability of Lt.-Gen. Gantz to lead the IDF in one of the most complicated and complex periods ever to face a diplomatic and military leadership. Lt.-Gen. Gantz brings with him great experience from the positions he has held, and also a personal style, honesty and ability to lead matters with team spirit, determination and harmony."
"We are in an period that is not simple," the Defense Minister explained, enumerating the countries which have undergone political change of late. "Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia and now [the revolution in] Egypt, which is a seminal event. We are also witness to events in Yemen and Bahrain. It is hard to predict how matters will develop, but there are certainly new challenges here in addition to the known threats - Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran in the background."
The ultimate challenge that faces the IDF, and towers above all the others, he clarified, is "the ability to withstand the test of war and to be victorious in it."
"The IDF is the anchor upon which the entire country's security stands," Barak said. "I knew previous general staffs very well and I can testify that the present general staff forum is excellent. I trust this general staff, the public trusts you and millions of eyes are looking to you and placing their trust in you."