President Rivlin with Iron Dome soldiers
President Rivlin with Iron Dome soldiersMark Neyman (GPO)

President Rivlin spoke Sunday afternoon on the IDF communications network, speaking to the IDF General Staff’s command center and conveying the wishes of the Israeli people to all IDF soldiers standing guard on land, sea and air.

“Our wonderful soldiers, men and women, this is Kodkod (commander) Ruvi,” said the president.

“No words can express the appreciation and love we have for you. Today, you won’t be sitting around the holiday table with your families, but the whole Israeli people is with you. You make it possible for us, all of us, to enjoy a happier, safer holiday. Through you, I would like to thank all IDF soldiers and security forces. You are our light, you are our pride, you are in our hearts at every moment. On behalf of the entire Israeli people, I would like to say thank you. Take care of yourselves, my dears, and take care of us. We trust you.”

Col. Moran Omer, commander of the operations unit in the command center at the Kirya General Staff HQ base, via which the president’s message went out to the IDF’s command posts, thanked the president and said, “Thank you, Mr. President, for your warm words. We see protecting and defending Israel as a great privilege during this complex time and take this opportunity to wish you and all Israel a happy Shavuot holiday, as much quiet as possible. Again, thank you for the time and the opportunity for us to hear you.”

The president made his remarks during a visit to an Iron Dome battery, escorted by the commander of aerial defense Brig.-Gen. Gilad Biran and commander of Battalion 947 Lt.-Col. Yehonatan Shabatai, who briefed the president on the sector and on the Iron Dome batteries deployed around the country.

The president then thanked the men and women of the battery he visited, saying “I came here and see that the guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers. You are the guardians of our walls. I saw the professionalism with which you are running this campaign, and I am proud of you. All of Israel trusts you.”

The president brought a cheesecake with him for the soldiers, as Nechama used to do with soldiers and said, “I came here ahead of Shavuot because I knew you wouldn’t be home and that your parents will be missing you. Many of them are involved themselves, as the home front has become the front-line. You are the irrefutable answer that home front that has become the front-line can live safely and know that they are being protected. Chag Sameach, my dears, to you and your families, on behalf of all citizens. Thank you! Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Nechama, my wife of blessed memory, would go between security forces who had stayed back to guard us on holiday and give them a slice of her famous cheesecake. And I’m here to carry on her tradition.”