Ashkenazi warns of war on the horizon

Olmert tells new IDF officers nation is prepared for any conflict, army has unprecedented resources.

ashkenazi good 298.88  (photo credit: IDF [file])
ashkenazi good 298.88
(photo credit: IDF [file])
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned the army on Wednesday to be ready for a new conflagration in the region. "There are dangers to our survival on the horizon and great challenges to Israeli security. The IDF needs to ensure a rapid victory in any conflict and I cannot guarantee that we won't need to act in the near future," Ashkenazi said at a graduation ceremony for a ground forces officers training course at the Officer Training School near Mitzpe Ramon. The army chief said the IDF's job was and remained to serve as "a safety net" for the continued existence and success of the State of Israel. Also attending the ceremony was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who told the soldiers that the lessons of the Second Lebanon War had been internalized, and that Israel was now better prepared for any conflict. "The lessons of the war are being implemented at all levels of command in the IDF: in the branches, corps, commands and the departments of the General Staff," Olmert said. "Unprecedented resources today allow the IDF to train more, prepare better for a time of trouble, and train commanders and fighters at all levels in the best possible manner and for all scenarios." Over the past year and a half, the government underwent a complex and profound process of improvement with regard to decision making and preparedness for a conflict, at a national and political level, he said. "Almost every framework in the IDF asked itself over the past 18 months what could be learned from the Lebanese campaign," the prime minister said. The changes could be felt throughout the ranks, he said, including in the training of commissioned officers. Olmert told the graduates the one thing that wasn't lacking among Israeli soldiers during the Second Lebanon War was courage. "We all saw the dedication, determination for the mission, courage and extraordinary sacrifice as expressed by the difficult battles in Lebanon," he said. He said if war were to break out again, Israel would once again be able to rely on the courage of its men in uniform. "The State of Israel, in its 60th year, is a strong nation, with military might, a known deterrent force for all those who need to know, and a nation of the most impressive accomplishments," the prime minister said. "Secure in our strength and force, we now march on the path to peace and security."