Ashkenazi: We take Ahmadinejad's words very seriously

IDF chief tells pre-army students that military is preparing in response to threats of Iranian president; stresses importance of army service.

Ashkenazi at Migdal Haemek school 311 (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
Ashkenazi at Migdal Haemek school 311
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi on Friday told a group of high school students in Migdal Haemek who will soon be inducted into the army that the IDF is a strong army, adding that Israel is preparing in response to calls from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Speaking to the students, Ashkenazi said, "We are of course aware of the calls from Ahmadinejad and we take them very seriously."
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He told the future soldiers how important their service is, saying that the IDF is still required as a generational mission - to defend Israel.
Ashkenazi said that "Hizbullah is gaining strength, despite the border being quiet. Syria is deeply involved in what we call 'the radical axis,' Hamas is certainly restrained but there still events in the South." So, the Chief of Staff said, "we are watching closely and preparing for those challenges."
Ashkenazi, who oversaw a major retooling of the IDF following the 2006 Lebanon War, will end his term as chief of general staff in February 2011. Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant will take over the post.