While protecting Israel’s citizens will always be the IDF’s top priority, the
army also finds great importance in defending the country’s flora and fauna –
such as its birds, according to IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny
“Preserving our natural resources is an integral part of the work
of the IDF, especially in minimizing damage control,” Gantz said at the 33rd
Annual Seminar on Birding held by the Society for the Protection of Nature and
Tel Aviv University on Monday.
The seminar, attended by birders, nature
photographers, air force pilots and scientists from all around the country,
marked 30 years of collaboration between the country’s birding experts and the
air force. Led by TAU Prof. Yossi Leshem as well as SPNI Ornithology Center head
Dan Alon, the seminar examined the relationship between the air force and
migratory birds passing through the skyways, and looked at other new trends in
Israel’s bird population.
“I am in fact a ‘sucker’ who doesn’t understand
birdwatching, but I am happy to be here among the professors, scholars and an
eager audience,” Gantz said.
While the general chief of staff stressed
that he cannot pretend to understand birds, he said he felt that it was
important to be present at the seminar, in order to honor those who protect the
country – including its plants and animals.
“I see great importance in
the different initiatives of the IDF for nature and the environment,” Gantz
At the seminar, the coordinators granted four scholarships in the
names of fighter pilots who died in the line of duty.
“Make no mistake
about it – today our first commitment is to the security of Israel and its
citizens, and we will fight for peace in Israel,” Gantz added.
will continue, at the same time, to work to defend the country and to preserve
the flora and fauna within it.”