Benny Gantz takes over as 20th chief of General Staff

New IDF head receives top rank from prime minister and defense minister at ceremony in Jerusalem; Ashkenazi leaves IDF after 40 years of service; Barak: "You profoundly influenced confidence in the IDF."

Gantz Barak Netanyahu 311 (photo credit: Avi Ochaion/GPO)
Gantz Barak Netanyahu 311
(photo credit: Avi Ochaion/GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday thanked outgoing IDF chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi for "doing so much to ensure the outcome of the battle."
Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak granted Askenazi's successor Benny Gantz the rank of Lieutenant-General in a ceremony at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, in which he was officially given command of the IDF.
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The prime minister welcomed Gantz, saying, "In your unique way, that combines calm, persistence and pleasantness, you will ensure stability and continuity."
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," said Barak.
Ashkenazi said that during his four-year tenure 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 stated the importance of making sure the IDF continued to rely on the people and prevent evasion of service going forward.
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," Gantz said.
Gantz stated that he was receiving "a strong, disciplined and persistent army" from Ashkenazi.
He thanked Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant for his "professional service, long years and dedication to to the State of Israel."
Later on Monday, Gantz will arrive at the Kirya in Tel Aviv where the traditional transfer ceremony will be held and he will review the honor guard.