Shimon Peres and reservists_311.
(photo credit: GPO)
The IDF would not be able to perform as it does without reservists, President
Shimon Peres said on Monday night at Beit Hanassi during the eighth annual
ceremony in tribute to the officers and members of 15 outstanding reserve units
cited for excellence.
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The army would not be able to exist in terms of
quality or quantity without the reservists, Peres emphasized, declaring that the
reservists represented the most noble aims of Israeli society.
not the nobility of pedigree or of affluence, nor is it that of luminaries whose
names are bywords,” he said.
“This is a completely different elite
sector, a quality team whose members are the best of the best; people who love
the nation and the state and who see it as a great personal privilege and an
obligation of conscience to safeguard the security and well-being of the
Although the reservists are civilians from all walks of life,
once they get into uniform, all ethnic, ideological and socioeconomic
differences are obliterated, Peres said. There is a sense of camaraderie between
officers and those who serve under them that is not emulated in any other
country in the world, he added.
“There is nothing more Israeli than a
unit of reservists,” Peres said.
Emphasizing the experience and
responsibility of today’s reservists, Peres said they are the bridge for the
peace process because they are equipped to meet any challenge and any
As for the younger generation, Peres did not detect the same
degree of commitment after the completion of compulsory army service and
regretted the number of dropouts, a phenomenon that needs to be contended with,
he said, urging that conditions be created whereby young people who for
religious or ideological reasons do not serve in the IDF will be able to serve
elsewhere without compromising their beliefs.
Peres also said reservists
should be better compensated for loss of income while serving in the
Defense Minister Ehud Barak took the podium as well. Excellence is
not just a feature of special circumstances, he said, rather, it is part of
Looking out from the podium at reservists from the army, air
force and navy, Barak said, “For you, excellence is a norm.”
opportunities and challenges facing the nation, he declared, “We can rely only
on ourselves. When I say ourselves, I mean the IDF on the quiet command of Benny
While emphasizing that security and peace are Israel’s central
goals, and that no stone should be left unturned in the effort to resume peace
negotiations, he cautioned that even in the pursuit of peace, Israel must remain
alert to every danger.
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz
said the readiness to continue to serve at the expense of studies, work and
family is something that should not be taken for granted.
particularly appreciative that bereaved families of reservists who fell in
battle in the 2006 Lebanon War were in attendance at the
Following Barak’s line of thinking about opportunities and
challenges, Gantz said that in the long run, Israel’s future looked brighter,
despite the current turmoil in the Middle East posing new concerns.