Ashkenazi: Peace with Egypt is a strategic asset for Israel

Chief of staff speaks to Herzliya Conference; says IDF faces large security challenges from regional changes; traditional Arab leadership waning.

Gabi Ashkenazi at Herzliya Conference 311 (photo credit: Uri Porat)
Gabi Ashkenazi at Herzliya Conference 311
(photo credit: Uri Porat)
Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said on Monday he hopes the turmoil in Egypt will settle down and the nearly three-decade peace treaty won’t be in jeopardy.
“Peace with Egypt is a strategic asset for the State of Israel, and I hope that there will be stability there, but it’s hard to say.”
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Ashkenazi also spoke of the way new Internet communications platforms were having in affecting change.
“In regards to the regimes that surround us, we see a fascinating phenomenon where more than a little of the power is shifting hands to the public. This is largely because of the social networking services, Twitter, Facebook, SMS messages. It is possible to see revolutionary waves taking place and in regards to the future we ask ourselves, are we seeing a domino effect?” he said.
Ashkenazi’s comments came during a speech on the second day of the 11th annual Herzliya Conference, Israel’s leading policy conference.
The conference is being held at the campus of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and will run through Wednesday.
Referring to the Arab leadership in the region, the army chief said, “There is a weakening of the moderate camp and the traditional Arab leadership is in a type of decay.”
“In the developing reality that surrounds us it is possible to see opportunities, and more than a few dangers.
“It [the new reality] presents a big security challenge for the IDF,” Ashkenazi added.
“It’s impossible to ignore the fact that the radical camp is strengthening.”
Ashkenazi also discussed the paramount importance of ground warfare capabilities, saying “I wish we could solve everything just with fire, but we also need land force maneuvers that will enable us to achieve effective attacks.
When I speak to soldiers, I tell them, “An F-16 isn’t enough, you also need an M-16.”