Ashkenazi: Regional unrest an opportunity for change

Chief of staff speaks to Herzliya Conference; says IDF must restructure according to fight on several fronts; 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 General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told the Herzliya Conference that the unrest in Egypt is underlined by tectonic changes taking place throughout the region. He said that although the changes taking place present opportunities, they also pose significant dangers.
Ashkenazi warned that Iran's power and influence is growing in the region through the funding of local terrorist groups and that at the same time, tradtional Arab leaders are waning.
In light of the changes taking place, he asserted that it is "an excellent opportunity to underscore that Israel is an asset to the West," that it is an island of stability in the region.
However, he warned, the IDF needs to prepare itself "to fight on more than one front," which he said has "enormous implications" for the structuring of the IDF.
The Herzliya Conference on “The Balance of Israel’s National Strength (hosen) and Security," running from February 6 to 9, 2011, is unique among the plethora of Israeli and international conferences.
Since its inception, the Herzliya Conference has become the annual "summit meeting" of the most influential Israeli and international leaders. Participants at the Conference include: government officials, Knesset members and ministers, senior defense officials, leaders of the Israeli business community, senior academicians, media representatives from Israel and abroad, representatives from various leading Jewish organizations in the Diaspora, dignitaries from abroad and the diplomatic corps in Israel.