IDF Chief Gantz with soldiers, March 9, 2014..
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz gave interviews to Israel’s three main news programs on channels 1, 2, and 10 over the weekend, stating he was leading preparations for future combat in the Lebanese and Gazan arenas.
In the interviews, Gantz said a ground offensive in Lebanon was not only possible and realistic, but also “necessary” in the event of a war with Hezbollah.
Addressing Gaza and Syria, Gantz said the military was readying itself for every type of scenario in a rapidly changing environment.
“In Gaza, there is Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other organizations, which have war with the State of Israel etched on their flags. That is what is there,” he said. “We can expect, I assume, further confrontations in the Gaza Strip. We are preparing the shift from routine life to a state of emergency, and we believe we have an answer to these threats.”
The chief of staff said recent months have seen calm from the Sinai sector, but added that the army did not trust this quiet.
“We have good connections with the Egyptians,” he said, praising security cooperation with Cairo. “The better our cooperation with Egypt is, there will be less need to work near the border, but the army is prepared to act.”
Gantz expressed anger over what he said was unjust criticism of career soldiers and their false presentation as a burden on Israeli economy.
“These are wonderful people who are doing their job. Do we want a hungry military or an advanced military that goes forward? Do we want sleepy people, or people who excel?”
The Middle East is a region that leaves no room for weakness, Gantz warned.
“If we’ll be weak, we’ll fail.”
Israel’s strength comes from its military and its civilians, Gantz said.
“They are both very important, and they can’t be separated.”