To Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Jerusalem
Not long ago, I completed 40 years of service with the IDF. All that time, I had the privilege of serving this country, my native country, in what I saw as the most important mission - protecting the peace.
I fought in the IDF - with my fellow soldiers - in all arenas. Every time I was given a mission, I did my best, out of a sense of dedication. I acted after considerations of morality, loyalty, honor, dependability, and comradeship.
In my long term in the IDF, I had the privilege of commanding excellent people and saw the IDF, thanks to these same peoples' abilities, develop into one of the world's leading armies.
For me, the word "responsibility" is very meaningful: It comes before everything - from A-Z, from training to probe. My perception of responsibility is what has led me to remain in my position until now, and lay this letter before you.
On June 1, 2005, the day on which I was entrusted by the government, under Ariel Sharon, with the job of chief of General Staff, I accepted a great responsibility.
The essence of this responsibility was the Lebanon war in the summer of 2006 and what followed. After the echoes of battle died away, I decided to exercise my responsibility in line with the highest tradition from home and the IDF.
Therefore, I ordered an investigation into the war unprecedented in the IDF: an extensive, detailed probe that didn't exclude me.
Today, after the investigation has been concluded, and decisions taken as to how to implement the lessons of the investigation in the IDF work plan for 2007, I am proud that I did what I promised to do after the Lebanon war and fulfilled my responsibility. I am convinced that the army will be ready for the challenges ahead.
The probe opened my eyes to what needs to be done to fix the situation, and to maintain the areas in which we succeeded. One of the main things we learned was that the IDF is deeply influenced by long-term processes.
Sometimes, this influence isn't felt, and we aren't aware of its ramifications. These processes have an effect on Israeli society and on the army's ability in particular.
Unfortunately, the State of Israel is destined to continue fighting for its existence. Our ability to secure victory in this drawn-out battle depends on our strength. This strength, at its roots, is built on values, on education, on a strong economy, and above all - on a strong IDF.
The IDF's strength is built first and foremost on the quality of its people and then, on the resources allotted to it. We must remember that the IDF's successes in Lebanon and elsewhere were achieved by many numbers of regular army and reserve soldiers, ready to be called up at any time. The IDF's strength comes from the public's support. Unfortunately, this has waned in recent years.
I believe, Mr. Prime Minister, that we must protect at all costs the IDF's honor and tradition, and leave it out of political struggles.
Human nature keeps people from serving where they are not valued and not protected by the people who send them [on missions]. We must ensure that we don't reach a situation in which good people will hesitate to ally themselves with the IDF.
Neither strong education, nor a strong economy will help us then, and the threat to the State of Israel will become more palpable.
There is no army as moral as the IDF. Its history is decorated with the blood of our many sons and daughters who have fallen. Their memory will remain with me forever.
I hope that we will be able to bring the kidnapped soldiers back quickly, the people who fell prisoner fighting for the country. I will always carry in my heart the meetings with the bereaved families, who even in these difficult times continue to support the IDF and encourage its commanders.
I would like to thank the defense ministers under whom I've served, and my colleagues in the General Staff, who have been full partners in planning and execution. I offer special thanks to IDF soldiers and commanders in the regular army and in reserves, who have been partners in the daily burden.
To you, sir, I would like to thank for your support and backing and wish you success in dealing with the complicated challenges before the nation and you, as prime minister.
In order to lead, we have to fulfill our responsibilities. Therefore, now that I have finished my task, I inform you of my resignation, effective immediately.
I salute the IDF and its soldiers.
At your service always, Danny Halutz, Lt.-Gen.