Vowing to prepare the IDF for future challenges and his readiness for this “important mission,” Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz received his rank on Monday and became the army’s 20th chief of General Staff.

Following a day full of ceremonies – at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Western Wall and the Kirya military headquarters – Gantz convened his first meeting of the General Staff and laid out his vision for the IDF as it prepares for challenges including possible confrontations with Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran, and the ongoing changes in Egypt.

At his swearing-in ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, Gantz admitted that his path to the top military post was not easy – he was appointed after the cabinet canceled its earlier decision to appoint Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant to the post – but that the IDF will know how to “adapt and prepare itself for future challenges.”

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Gantz also reached out to Galant, who skipped all of the ceremonies, thanking him for a long military service.

“Yoav and I have spoken, and I thank him for his service to the country,” Gantz said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked outgoing chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and warned of the future challenges that await Gantz and the IDF.

“We are preparing for every possibility, since we know in the end and particularly due to the upheaval in the region, that our existence and getting our neighbors to realize the importance of peace depends on the IDF,” Netanyahu said.

During a toast after the ceremonies, Ashkenazi turned to Gantz. While stressing that there was no real way to prepare for the post, he mentioned the Kassam rocket attack against the western Negev earlier in the day.

“For that reason, I am handing you the book with the list of targets in the Gaza Strip,” Ashkenazi said, while reaching for a small pamphlet.

Ashkenazi said that he carried the book with him at all times. It includes lists of targets such as smuggling tunnels, Hamas positions and weapons manufacturing plants that can be attacked at all times in response to Palestinian terrorist or rocket attacks.

“Hold it tight and good luck,” Ashkenazi told Gantz, to the laughter of the other members of the General Staff.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Ashkenazi “profoundly influenced the IDF’s confidence in itself and the people’s confidence in the IDF.



“I thank Gabi Ashkenazi for 40 years of service and especially for the last four years,” Barak said.

Ashkenazi said that during his four years as chief of General Staff, “we didn’t build the IDF, but we tried to renew the people’s pride in the army.”

The outgoing chief of General Staff discussed the importance of making sure the IDF continues to rely on the people and prevent evasion of military service.

Gantz said that “with confidence in my abilities, I accept command of the IDF. It’s an exciting day for me, the IDF and the people of Israel.”

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