Defense Minister Yoav Galant – himself a former candidate for IDF Chief of Staff – pledged Monday during the installation of incoming IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi to prevent political pressure from harming the Israel Defense Forces.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, which also promoted Halevi to Lieutenant General, Galant said he would work to block “external pressure” on the IDF so Halevi could work unfettered.
“Between authority and responsibility in the military, there is one fundamental concept: the unity of command. For each soldier and officer, there is one commander, and above them all is the chief of staff, the highest command in the army, subordinate to the defense minister and subject to the government,” Galant said.
“By virtue of my position and as required by the law I will act so that the chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, can fulfill his responsibilities,” he went on.
“Meanwhile, I will make sure that external pressures – political, legal and others – will stop at me and not reach the gates of the IDF,” he emphasized.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not discuss the issue of politics in his remarks, but rather focused instead of the threat presented by Iran, which he said was responsible for “90 percent of the problems in the Middle East.”
The regime of the mullahs, Netanyahu said, “threatens to destroy us,” but added that Israel “will not wait for a sharp sword to be placed on our necks. The IDF and the Shin Bet and the Mossad will do whatever it takes” to eliminate that threat.
Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi also emphasized the importance of Israel rising above its current political divide while taking his leave from the post in emotional remarks at the ceremony
“I say goodbye to the IDF which I love so much,” he said. “I salute you all and thank you for the privilege of commanding the people’s army.
“Precisely in these days of polarization and discord, the shared military service of all segments of society reminds us we are one people, with one goal and one common future,” he added.
Halevi focused his own remarks on the threats facing Israel and the strength of the IDF to contend with those threats.
“Our enemies should know we can do what we say we will do and we are ready to do much more than what we say,” he warned.
“We will prepare the IDF for war against arenas far and near,” Halevi said. “We will expand quality recruitment to the IDF from all strata of the population, the source of our strength. We will strengthen the reserve army and maintain a united, focused, moral and professional IDF free from all considerations other than security,” he pledged.