Outgoing IDF Southern Command Chief Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano said on Sunday that Gaza’s terror groups will continue to pose a threat and must be handled with proactive strategies.
Speaking at a ceremony that wrapped up his term and transferred command over to incoming OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yaron Finkleman, Toledano said that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will receive quiet if that is what they give.
Toledano added that Gaza could experience increased economic development if this takes course. However, if the Gaza groups attack Israel, the IDF must continue to respond quickly and firmly.
He also said that the operations in Gaza in 2021, 2022, and May of this year all showed that the IDF needs to keep on its toes. “Hamas is defeated by people who see each other face to face,” he said.
Toledano had a storied career even before Gaza and among other toles, served as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s military secretary, his next position will be serving as the key IDF official on Iran.
Toledano did take some heat recently after three IDF soldiers were killed by an Egyptian policeman gone rogue, partially due to their training having lacked readiness for such an incident.
While multiple sub-commanders within Toledano’s command received various reprimands, he did not receive one, saying the problems arose at levels below where he would usually intervene. He is known as bright, quickly incisive, and no-nonsense.
Finkleman noted that he fought exactly nine years ago with Hamas in July 2014 in Operation Protective Edge, including losing some of the soldiers under his command – something which brings gravity to the role. “There are many and complex challenges. The mission is clear. We will act according to the values of the IDF, being at attention, readiness, initiative, and boldness to win,” he said.
He added that he knew all of the key defense establishment parties, local residents, and foreign officials who helped maintain security in the South, and that with their teamwork, they would succeed in the IDF’s mission.
Finkleman has extensive combat experience with the paratroopers and Maglan Special Forces as well as on both the Lebanese and Gazan fronts.
Comments from IDF chief-of-staff Herzi Halevi
IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said Toledano created “strong plans, but also knew when he needed to switch plans” mid-operation due to changed circumstances. He said that the “fight against terror does not end with one operation. It requires continuation and always being ready.”