On a tour of the North with new IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz on Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that despite the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt, the peace treaty with Cairo will be maintained.

Barak said that the IDF needs to be prepared because "the entire region is changing before our eyes. We see what happened in Lebanon - the government changed to one that is less comfortable [for Israel] for many reasons, and it is more connected to Hezbollah. We saw what happened in Tunisia and now in Egypt."

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"I think the peace treaty will stay stable," Barak said. "I don't think that there is an immediate result to [the protests], but it shows us how unstable this region is. We see protests in other countries in the area, we see Turkey changing."

"We keep this country secure; every generation passes this responsibility on to the next generation, like a relay race," Barak said.

Discussing the situation in Lebanon, Barak said that Hezbollah remembers the hit it received in 2006, but that the situation has since deteriorated and therefore, soldiers still need to be prepared.

"Today the units are more trained, more prepared, but there is always what to do, and we have to be ready for any test," the Defense Minister explained.

Barak also wished good luck to Gantz, and thanked the soldiers as well as OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisencott.

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