President Reuven Rivlin (L) and IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz.
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
Exactly a week before stepping out of office and doffing his army uniform Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Benny Gantz who is on a round of farewells, met on Monday with President Reuven Rivlin.
Gantz was accompanied by members of the General Staff Reconnaissance, or the Matkal as it is known in Hebrew..
Rivlin commended the Matkal for the wise and responsible decisions it has taken with regard to the nation’s security, and underscored the need for constant vigilance in the face of surrounding dangers.
The president noted that this past year was a milestone year in the history of the Matkal forum in that the last of the soldiers who had participated in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 retired from the IDF.
The Yom Kippur War said Rivlin, was the third of Israel’s all encompassing wars and also the last big war fought on conventional lines against regular armies.
Today, he continued, the situation is different and full of uncertainty.
The eyes of the nation are on the Matkal he said, because its decisions and its ability to ward off terror determine the nation’s fate.
Rivlin also cautioned that Israel must be prepared for all the changes taking place in the Middle East, and all the future threats that might result.
Addressing Gantz personally, he said that it had been a privilege to get to know him, first during Rivlin’s term as a member of the Knesset Foreign Relations and Defense Committee and subsequently at various meetings in which they both participated. Aware of the extent to which Gantz had taken his responsibilities, and the countless times in which he had gone out into the field, Rivlin remarked that Gantz had traversed every trail and valley and had climbed every hill. The comment was a metaphor for the IDF’s ability to conquer every obstacle in proving itself to be a quality army..
Rivlin was certain that once Gantz returns to civilian life, he will continue to serve the nation to the best of his ability, and underscored that Gantz had been called back to the IDF after he had previously relinquished his uniform. “I’m sure that the vacation you’re taking will be shorter than anticipated,” said Rivlin. “The people of Israel need you on the frontlines of the state, and I hope that you will continue to exert influence.”
Speaking directly to the Matkal, Gantz said that it had been an honor to be part of their forum and to stand at its head for the past four years, both during operations and maneuvers and in the battlefield itself.
Gantz credited the Matkal with the successes of the IDF and also thanked Rivlin for what he has done in his various roles to help strengthen the morale of the IDF. He recalled that during Operation Preventive Edge, Rivlin had been a frequent visitor to the Gaza Strip and to army bases, “and to our regret we saw how determined you were to pay condolence calls on all the bereaved families of fallen soldiers who paid the highest price in the loss o loved ones.”
Earlier in the day, Rivlin met with members of the Cohen, Braham and Saada families, whose close relatives were murdered in the terrorist attack on the kosher supermarket in Paris last month. Rivlin told of the horror that was felt in Israel and by Jews around the world at the brutality of the attack, and said that Jews wherever they may be are part of one family with shared pain and joy and a clear connection to the State of Israel.