President Reuven Rivlin .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The IDF is well prepared to combat any offensive from Gaza, President Reuven Rivlin was told Tuesday in a series of conversations with Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the Gaza Division commander and officers and soldiers of units stationed along the Gaza Strip in a briefing at Gaza Division Headquarters at Raim Army Base.
Even though there is no anticipation of an immediate escalation of violence from across the southern border.
Early in his presidency, just a month after the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Rivlin toured the area and has been returning periodically to receive updates on military and civilian developments and boost the morale of the locals.
“There are citizens on both sides of the border who want to live in peace and quiet, and we will make sure that the citizens of Israel can live in tranquility,” Rivlin said. “We are not interested in war, but after hours of talking to wonderful commanding officers, I know that if war is imposed on us, the army is as professionally prepared as anyone could want.”
Rivlin, who was made privy to intelligence reports, new defense techniques and equipment and long-term plans that collectively contribute to Israel’s military strength, came away with the impression that “we’ve got people on whom we can rely.”
He also spoke of Israel’s determination to bring home the remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul who were killed during the 2014 conflict in Gaza and whose bodies remain held by Hamas, saying the government is doing everything possible to bring their bodies home for proper Jewish burial.
“Israel is morally obligated to bring them back,” he said.
Goldin’s parents, Leah and Simcha, and his twin brother, Tzur, will join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his trip to New York next month to address the UN General Assembly.
A selection of drawings by Hadar Goldin will be displayed in one of the main exhibition areas at UN headquarters.
The Shaul family has staged demonstrations outside Nafthah Prison to prevent families from visiting Gazan prisoners and has demonstrated near the Prime Minister’s Residence.
Rivlin also made a point of thanking the soldiers and commending them for their efficiency, and their courageous service in the face of a constant threat, saying the relative quiet along the border is not something that can be taken for granted.
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