Rivlin calls elections disgrace, reminds of IDF's important role

President Reuven Rivlin made his remarks during the graduation ceremony of 39 new IAF pilots on Wednesday.

President Reuven Rivlin attends the graduation ceremony of Israel's 181 IAF flying training course on Wednesday, December 23, 2020. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
President Reuven Rivlin attends the graduation ceremony of Israel's 181 IAF flying training course on Wednesday, December 23, 2020.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) welcomed on Wednesday 39 new pilots into its ranks in a ceremony attended by President Reuven Rivlin who congratulated the young graduates and addressed the looming elections.
Also attending the limited ceremony this year, due to coronavirus, were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin, and the graduates' families.
In his opening remarks, Rivlin addressed the "approaching storm of elections," which he described as a disgrace. Quoting a speech given by Kochavi recently, Rivlin said that during these challenges times, we must remember the important role that the IDF plays in the Israeli society by "teaching our youths values of patriotism while bringing together the various groups that live in this country."
Addressing the graduates, Rivlin said that "each and every one of you is setting an example for us all," and thanked their family members and commanders.
"The Israeli Air Force is one of the best in the world," Rivlin added. "A sophisticated, daring and creative force that's always prepared for any mission, at any time, in far away and close arenas as necessary. And all that is made possible thanks to you," Rivlin told the graduates. "As advanced as it can be, the aircraft will never dominate the future battlefield without you - AIF personnel."
Kochavi also congratulated the graduates. "Keep focusing on protecting the nation, every part of it. We remember and nourish our unity, and do everything we can to keep it united," he said.
President Reuven Rivlin attends the graduation ceremony of Israel's 181 IAF flying training course on Wednesday, December 23, 2020. ( IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)President Reuven Rivlin attends the graduation ceremony of Israel's 181 IAF flying training course on Wednesday, December 23, 2020. ( IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Kochavi also addressed the incident from Tuesday, during which Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick was attacked by ultra-Orthodox protesters in Jerusalem. "The protesters who attacked the Maj.-Gen. attacked he who protects them, attacked those who allow them to live a safe life, they attacked the IDF," he said, noting that "they were protesting but in fact expressed a loss of values and ungratefulness, and trampled an impotent commandment."
Kochavi added that the incident should lead the haredi community to reexamine itself and its leaders.
Netanyahu, attending the ceremony virtually, touched the increasing tension with Iran and the role that the Air Force might need to play in the future facing the Iranian threat.
"We will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons ... We do not take lightly the threats made against us, nor do we shy away from them," Netanyahu said. "In the face of danger, the Air Force is ready to act forcefully - in any range, in any arena and in any target," he stated.
Gantz also noted the Iranian threat, adding that "our enemies should know- we won't hesitate to activate our force in order to prevent any harm to Israeli citizens, and we won't hesitate to prevent our enemies and especially Iran and its proxies in the region to develop capabilities that will endanger the stability in the Middle East."