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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Benny Gantz’

Benny Gantz, Natan Sharansky Named to Jerusalem Unity Prize Committee

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gants and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky have joined Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on this year’s committee to choose recipients for the Jerusalem Unity Prize.

Nominations are now being accepted for the prize, now in its second year of awards to those who are recognized for fostering Jewish unity. The Jerusalem Unity Prize was created by Mayor Nir Barkat to promote unity among the Jewish people. It was conceived with the Shaer, Frenkel and Yifrach families in memory of their sons Gil-ad, Naftali and Eyal, whose kidnappings and subsequent murders became a turning point in Jewish communal relations.

Jews from all walks of life came together in an unprecedented display of solidarity to pray for the safe return of the boys at that time.

In partnership with GESHER, the award was designed to harness that spirit of national unity and inspire continued work to bridge divides within the greater Jewish community. “Benny Gantz is a natural leader whose resolve carried the Israeli military through the tragic period following our boys’ abduction and the subsequent campaign in Gaza,” the Fraenkel, Shaer and Ifrach families said in a statement.

“Natan Sharansky serves as the ultimate symbol of Jewish heroism and courage whose personal story has inspired millions.

“Both of these figures therefore exhibit the traits which inspire pride and unity within the modern Jewish experience and we feel deeply honored to have them as part of this effort.”

“Jerusalem is the eternal home and capital of the Jewish people and the very symbol of the power of our unity. Historically, Jerusalem was not divided into tribes and the gates of our city have always been open to all. The Jerusalem Unity Prize is a modern celebration of that very power of the Jewish people coming together,” said Mayor Nir Barkat.

Gantz welcomed the appointment. “My position allowed me a unique perspective to appreciate the power of national unity,” he said. “I truly believe that the security of our future, as a People and as a country, relies on the strength we possess when united. I am excited to be able to encourage and support those who believe in the importance of working together, and I consider it a privilege to be a part of the Jerusalem Unity Prize committee.”

Sharansky added, “Jerusalem serves as a bridge between our People’s dream and our reality, and is the very realization of our national aspirations. The city unites us in times of victory as well as tragedy, reminding that when tragedy strikes it is incumbent upon us to rise and unite in action, in giving back and with mutual respect for all.

“I salute the Frenkel, Shaer and Yifrach families on this remarkable initiative and it is an honor to have been invited to be part of the program.”

Nominations for the Prize will be accepted via the Prize website until February 4, 2016. Prizes of up to 300,000 NIS total will be awarded in three separate categories of unity initiatives on the local, regional and global levels.

In 2015, awards were presented to Brigadier General Ram Shmueli, Harav Chacham David Menachem, Nifgashim B’Shvil Yisrael and the Chabad House of Bangkok, Thailand. The 2015 Unity Prize was awarded in June on Unity Day, where over 1 million people participated in educational and entertainment events worldwide.

Unity Day this year will take place in early June 2016 with programs already being scheduled across the Diaspora. “Unity Day proved itself as not just a welcomed program but indeed a necessary one whereby the Jewish world was reminded of just how much we can achieve when we put our differences aside and focus on our commonalities,” said Anat Schwarz Weil, director of the Jerusalem Unity Prize.

“There is no doubt that we as a people face many challenges- indeed to our very existence. So it is all that much more important that we rally behind this initiative so that we can be a stronger and more united Jewish people.”

Jewish Press Staff

General Gadi Eizenkot Takes Command of the IDF

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Gadi Eizenkot officially took over the command of the IDF Monday morning, replacing Benny Gantz in a routine rotation.

Lt. Gen. Eizenkot is a new image for the Israel, one of modesty that is rare in recent years among IDF generals who often are politicians more than they are military officers in their race to please the political echelon and the United States in order to climb the ladder of positions of power.

Eizenkot was a natural candidate to command the IDF several years ago, but he declined.

He is modest, but he also is tough, and as the Jewish Press reported here in November, he is different from other military commanders and is not afraid to speak his mind, even if his thoughts are not politically correct.

He took over the Northern Command after his predecessor quit in 2006 after suffering sharp criticism of his conduct in the 34-day Second Lebanon War that summer, a war which was arguably one of the most embarrassing for Israel in terms of the military’s lack of preparation, poor intelligence, logistic fiascos and loss of life.

Concerning Hezbollah, Eizenkot has said he backs a policy to show “no mercy shown when it comes to hitting the national infrastructure of a state that, in practice, is controlled by terrorist organization Hezbollah.”

On the other hand, Eizenkot is not considered trigger-happy and will not send soldiers into war unless diplomacy does not work, Yediot Acharonot observed when he was nominated for the new post late last year.

But when the army has to hit, it will do it the way it should.

Gantz said in his farewell speech Monday, “You have behind you a professional army, trained, flexible, and prepared for all tasks. Gadi,…take the army in the direction you choose….Praised is the people for whom you command their armed forces. Praised are those who answer “follow me” in carrying out commands.

Eizenkot, 54, lives in Herzliya, next to Tel Aviv. He is married and has five children.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Meet Gadi Eizenkott, the Next IDF Chief of Staff

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Gadi Eizenkott will replace IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz in February, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced Saturday night, with the blessing of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Eizenkott, now Gantz’s deputy, took over the Northern Command after his predecessor quit in 2006 after sharp criticism of his conduct in the 34-day Second Lebanon War that summer, a war which was arguably one of the most embarrassing for Israel in terms of the military’s lack of preparation, poor intelligence, logistic fiascos and loss of life.

Eizenkott has restored some dignity to the IDF following the Second Lebanon War and is backs a policy to show “no mercy shown when it comes to hitting the national infrastructure of a state that, in practice, is controlled by terrorist organization Hezbollah.”

After an 18-month leave of absence to serve as a researcher in an Israeli think tank, Eizenkott returned to the army as Gantz’s deputy in 2013.

“Maj.-Gen. Eizenkott has been chosen from an excellent group of major generals to lead the IDF in the face of the complex security challenges facing the State of Israel. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I wish him success,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.

That would seem be a given, but given the recent years of the IDF commanders anxious to please the Obama administration, it is a “revolution” to think that that enemies should be killed and not “engaged.”

Eizenkott is not considered trigger-happy and will not send soldiers into war unless diplomacy does not work, Yediot Acharonot observed. But when the army has to hit, it will do it the way it should.

He enlisted in the Golani unit, which has produced many of IDF Chiefs of Staff.

Reserve Maj.-Gen. Ilan Biran, who worked alongside Eizenkott and was his senior commander, told Yediot, “After the Oslo Accords, as the GOC Central Command, I was looking for a brigade commander who knew how to handle a complicated and complex area – on the one hand there were the settlers and on the other hand militant cities like Tulkarem and Kalkilya. Eizenkott showed qualities of a model brigade commander, he showed common sense, restraint, unusual responsibility and creativity. He managed to avoid unnecessary conflicts and controlled these cities successfully in what was an extremely delicate task.”

In the recent Protect Edge operation against Hamas this past summer, Eizenkott favored a policy of not trying to destroy Hamas or take over Gaza.

He is known not to be afraid to say what he thinks, a rarity among recent senior military leaders.

The hope is that the Peter Principle will not change him when he takes over from Gantz and that he will continue to be homiest, tough and modest, characteristics sorely lacking in the top military echelon where commanders often worry more about being politically correct rather than protecting the country.

 

 

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

IDF Chief Tries to Reassure Southerners, ‘It’s Safe to Go Home’

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

IDF and Israeli government officials are doing their best to convince southern residents that it’s safe now to return home to Gaza Belt communities.

But Hamas assurances that the terror group intends to resume its rocket and mortar fire promptly at 8 am Friday, combined with the limited technology that has made it impossible for the Code Red alerts to detect incoming mortar shelling from Gaza, raise serious questions in the minds of the residents who say they are the ones who are placing their lives and those of their children on the line.

A lot of Israelis are not buying the government reassurances; nearly 60 percent of those who live along the Gaza border, in fact, says Yair Farjun, head of the Ashkelon Coastal Region council.

Still, IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen. Benny Gantz gave it his best shot on Wednesday. Gantz told reporters at a briefing there is “devastation in Gaza, and guilt for the tragedy rests on Hamas leaders,” who he described as “hiding in their basements.”

Gantz stressed that although some 30,000 reservists had been discharged and were returning to their homes, some 55,000 IDF soldiers were still remaining in a staging area outside the Gaza border.

“I am convinced the residents can return to their houses, work their fields, live well here just as it was before,” he said. “Just as there was peace here before, it will be even quieter after,” he sought to reassure.

“The IDF is not going anywhere. It remains to protect people, to do what is necessary, to seek the next challenge. Together with our citizens we will continue to improve security in this area,” he said.

Hamas officials in Cairo threatened Wednesday night to resume rocket fire at 8 am on Friday unless there is “significant progress” in the cease fire negotiations, Israel’s Channel 10 reported Thursday.

Israel reportedly offered generous terms in the talks, according to an Egyptian source who spoke with a Hebrew-language Israeli newspaper. But Israeli representatives refused to compromisee on the issue of disarming terrorist groups in Gaza, the source said.

Hana Levi Julian

PM Vows to Destroy All Terror Tunnels ‘With or Without Cease Fire’

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised Israelis Thursday morning the IDF would track down and destroy all the Gaza terror tunnels — and restore safety to southern Israel — “with or without a cease fire.”

The prime minister told the Security Cabinet Thursday morning that IDF soldiers have already mapped out and destroyed “dozens” of terrorist tunnels in Gaza.

The prime minister opened the meeting with praises for the troops fighting in the region, condolences for the families of those who have fallen in action, and encouragement for those recuperating from their injuries in hospitals and at home.

Netanyahu had especially high words of praise for soldiers and officers, as did Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. “Their morale is incredibly high,” noted Ya’alon.

“They are the real heroes of this story, those who are still busy with this situation.,” Gantz said. “Our troops, who understand what they have to do and who carry those orders out with unprecedented excellence.”

The meeting was brief, reviewing decisions made yesterday to intensify operations and call up 16,000 more reservists to allow the current 70,000 contingent of troops some “breathing room.”

The prime minister noted the decisions had come at a price in the international arena, but were supported at home by a wide majority of the people of Israel.

“We have destroyed dozens of tunnels and we will finish the job, with or without a cease fire. Israel won’t agree to a cease fire that does not allow the IDF to destroy every terrorist tunnel in Gaza,” he vowed.

The issue has been one that is at the forefront of southern Israeli residents’ minds: some 300,000 people have left the region for the duration, saying they fear infiltrations and terror attacks because of those tunnels.

As the ministers rose to leave, Netanyahu stopped them. “Wait a minute,” he said before ending the meeting. “I want to underline something for our troops, for the media and for the public: Every single soldier is precious to us – every single one,” the prime minister emphasized. “They are on our minds constantly. We think about every single one.”

Meanwhile, it has also been a busy morning in Gaza for the IDF.

Cooperation between ground and air forces has proved to be a major advantage in dealing with terrorists in urban warfare. Paratroopers spotted a cell of five terrorists moving in their area; transmitting that information to pilots in the skies, an IAF aircraft targeted the squad and confirmed the hit.

IDF combat forces identified a terrorist climbing out of a tunnel shaft in northern Gaza on Thursday morning. The troops engaged the terrorist and killed him.

Givati Brigade fighters also killed a terrorist who was spotted firing an anti-tank missile at IDF soldiers in southern Gaza.

Since midnight, terrorists have fired 16 missiles and rockets at Israel; 10 have reached Israeli territory.

While the security cabinet was meeting, a Grad Katyusha missile exploded in an open area on the outskirts of Be’er Sheva.

Over the past 24 hours, 37 IDF soldiers and two civilians have been admitted to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon with a range of injuries. Eight of the soldiers were listed in serious condition, seven in fair condition and the rest are listed in good condition.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu: War Means War and Not Phony Ceasefires [VIDEO]

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Israel’s political and military leaders told the country Monday night that the war in Gaza will continue until all terror tunnels are destroyed and that Israel will not be conned by phony ceasefires.

Shortly after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz spoke at a press conference, the IDF announced that the four victims of a Hamas mortar shell earlier in the day were soldiers and that a fifth soldier was killed in fighting in Gaza.

The death toll of Israeli soldiers in the three-week-old war now is 48.

The IDF put the government’s words in action Monday night and shelled northeastern Gaza shortly after the Hamas mortar attack killed four soldiers near the Gaza border,

Earlier in the day, the IDF foiled a planned attack on a kibbutz after soldiers spotted terrorists infiltrating into Israel via a tunnel.

“We will not end the operation in Gaza without neutralizing the terror tunnels,” the Prime Minister told reporters. “There is no war more just than this one. We will not end the operation in Gaza without neutralizing the terror tunnels.

“Hamas is a cruel enemy, not only to us, but to their own citizens. They have rejected numerous cease-fires. We are prepared for an extended operation.”

Gantz said that the military has carried out an “excellent” campaign and that it would continue as long as necessary.

Ideas of a ceasefire went down the drain during the day as Hamas continued to attack Israel, setting off warning sirens as far north as Haifa, while talking about a halt in the violence.

The strong Israeli stand is a direct rejection of assertions by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and President Barack Obama who have expressed they “understand” Israel’s need to defend themselves but insist that negotiating with Hamas, which the United States has classified as an illegal terrorist organization, is the way to reduce fatalities, which raises the question why President Obama did not negotiate with Osama bin Laden after 9/11.

The international community has not gotten the message that for the first time in years, if not decades, an overwhelming majority of Israelis are 100 percent behind the government and want the army to finish the job.

“We won’t be deterred from fighting for our home and citizens,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the press conference,

Netanyahu has taken to the air waves, speaking on several American television channels the past several days and getting across two points: Hamas announces ceasefires while launching missiles at Israel, and Hamas continues to use civilians as human shields.

A Gaza hospital was hit by a rocket or mortar shells on Monday, and Hamas immediately accused Israel, as most foreign media duly reported until the IDF stated categorically that there were no military activities in the area and that Hamas’s mortar shells hit the medical facility.

Video of the IDF Chief of Staff visiting the troops:

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Dear @IDFSpokesperson – Please Stop with the Moral Platitudes

Monday, July 21st, 2014

We’re all more than a bit angry and sad right now, but I’ve thought it over, and the moral platitudes being published by the IDF Spokesperson on Twitter have been grating on my nerves since they began, and my feelings about them have nothing to do with the deaths of our soldiers today, other than spurring me on to write this post.

Today the @IDFSpokesperson tweeted:

IDF Chief of Staff: “We have a moral obligation to avoid civilian casualties. We also have a moral obligation to defend our people.”

I have a simple question for the Chief of Staff: Which of these two moral obligations takes priority, and which action has higher moral value for you?

It’s a very real question, because it affects the decisions you make.

I know which one I give a much higher priority to, but I can’t tell which one our Chief of Staff considers morally superior, with that morally equivalent statement he’s bantering about.

I’m very much reminded of the 2002 decision to needlessly send a dozen soldiers into a booby-trapped Jenin alley, in a morally corrupt attempt to minimize enemy civilian casualties.

Perhaps I am being too harsh right now, and speaking out of the loss we all feel, but didn’t we learn from Jenin that it is morally and tactically superior to remotely soften and even destroy known dangerous zones, even with civilians present, before putting feet down on the ground?

Are there other factors in his decision? Could be, and in fact there probably are, such as world opinion, or US pressure.

But we can’t know if those factors actually enter into his calculations, as this moral platitude is the only one the Chief of Staff actually bothered to share with us on the subject.

Perhaps it would be simply better if he didn’t tweet moral equivocations like that in the first place, which lead me to conclusions I don’t want to believe are true.

And then we have:

IDF Chief of Staff: “We will continue offering help [to Gaza]…Even as we fight the enemy, we are transferring humanitarian assistance.”

So, even as we fight the enemy, we provide that same enemy with assistance?

Has he forgotten that before their violent and murderous coup, Hamas won 60% of the Parliamentarian seats in Gaza in open elections? Don’t Hamas’s citizens bear any responsibility for their actions and choices?

Don’t their cheers and chocolates after terror attacks on Jews, indicate some inkling of shared complicity on their part with their leadership?

It appears the IDF Chief of Staff doesn’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong. I am sure there are innocent civilians among them, but to brag that we are supporting an enemy population even as they attack us, which also enables them to attack us for longer? There’s something very unhealthy about that.

And finally we have:

IDF Chief of Staff: “There are no militaries like ours. There are no militaries that drop leaflets and telephone civilians before a strike.”

I hope he doesn’t break his arm patting himself on the back. But the world really doesn’t care about Israel’s “moral” acts as much as he thinks it does.

In fact, it is Israel who keep inviting the world in to criticize us, by looking over our shoulder every two seconds to make sure the world still likes us (and some of it does, and some of it doesn’t).

Sending out tweets like that, invites closer scrutiny and investigation into our actions, if for no other reason than to prove it wrong that we are “morally superior”.

JoeSettler

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/dear-idfspokesperson-please-stop-with-the-moral-platitudes/2014/07/21/

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