IDF Chief of Staff (Lt.-Gen.) Aviv Kohavi stressed that the quiet on the northern front is "more deceptive than ever," warning that "the state of Lebanon and Hezbollah will bear the consequences if the State of Israel's sovereignty is harmed," during a ceremony marking Maj.-Gen. Ori Gordin's entrance as the head of IDF Northern Command on Sunday.
"The operational activity on the northern front is an example of the exercise of military power that allows the front to be shaped and enables the State of Israel to realize its goals," said Kohavi.
"The State of Lebanon and Hezbollah will bear the consequences if the sovereignty of the State of Israel is harmed, and if [Israel's] assets or citizens are harmed, the IDF does not and will not stand by, and any attempt to harm the State of Israel, in any arena, will be met with a sharp response or a preemptive initiative," he added.
Kohavi stressed that Hezbollah "hijacked" Lebanon, causing the country to pay a "double price" both security-wise and economically.
The chief of staff lauded outgoing Northern Command commander Amir Baram for "leading a systematic campaign that played a central role in improving the security situation in the north and an overall campaign to improve the readiness of the Command: Operational plans, challenging exercises, the preparation of the emergency warehouses and the preparation of infrastructure in the sector with an emphasis on the Northern Shield (Magen Hatzafon)."
Kohavi addressed the incoming commander Gordin as well, stating: "You are taking up your position in a complex period, where silence is more deceptive than ever, and the challenges are, as always, many. Your experience in general, and your operational experience in particular, along with your broad understanding, creativity and leadership will do their part, and you will do yours with them."
Baram: We prevented an escalation on the northern border
Baram stressed that the Northern Command under his command succeeded in preventing Hezbollah from establishing itself in southern Syria and from carrying out attacks or opening another front on the border of the Golan Heights.
"We acted in a persistent and multi-pronged manner through countless airstrikes, ground raids, countermeasures and many dozens of small and precise victories, which cumulatively allowed us to prevent an escalation on the northern border," said Baram. "From an operative point of view, we were engaged in preparing the critical mass on land for the war centered in Lebanon, and we improved the readiness and offensive capability in additional dimensions that are not only land-based."
Gordin: We will not commit the sin of complacency
Gordin noted that "The spectacular view from Mount Canaan, the quietness and pastoral atmosphere in the Upper Galilee and the Golan can deceive and not reflect the instability and the tumultuous land to the east and north of our border - both in Syria and Lebanon."
The incoming commander stressed that "we will not commit the sin of complacency and will be with two open eyes and with a clenched fist and ready to act in the face of any attempt to threaten or create a reality that threatens the security of the citizens of Israel."