President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday hosted the traditional ceremony honoring 120 outstanding IDF soldiers in the garden of the Presidential residence in Jerusalem. The evnt was attended by Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Aviv Kochavi and current and former members of the IDF General Staff.
The morning began with a flyover in honor of the outstanding soldiers, who represent all branches of the IDF. The lead pilot of the flyover greeted the president and the soldiers as he flew over the residence, saying “Mr President, Chief of Staff, we the pilots of the Israel Air Force greet you on behalf of the Israel Defense Forces with our best wishes for a Yom Haatzmaut Sameach – Happy Independence Day.”
The president replied, saluting: “on behalf of the people of Israel I wish you Yom Haatzmaut Sameach – to you, the pilots of the IAF, soldiers of the IDF and their commanders in the air, on land and on the sea. Happy Independence Day, Israel!”
Immediately after the flyover, the president and chief of staff reviewed an honor guard of the 120 outstanding solders, who were chosen on the recommendation of their commanders to receive the President’s Award for Excellence for their service and outstanding contribution to the IDF and the State of Israel.