Reservist units honored at Beit Hanassi

The army would not be able to exist in terms of quality or quantity without the reservists, Peres says at ceremony.

Shimon Peres and reservists_311 (photo credit: GPO)
Shimon Peres and reservists_311
(photo credit: GPO)
The IDF would not be able to perform as it does without reservists, President Shimon Peres said on Monday night at Beit Hanassi during the eighth annual ceremony in tribute to the officers and members of 15 outstanding reserve units cited for excellence.
The army would not be able to exist in terms of quality or quantity without the reservists, Peres emphasized, declaring that the reservists represented the most noble aims of Israeli society.
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“This is not the nobility of pedigree or of affluence, nor is it that of luminaries whose names are bywords,” he said.
“This is a completely different elite sector, a quality team whose members are the best of the best; people who love the nation and the state and who see it as a great personal privilege and an obligation of conscience to safeguard the security and well-being of the nation.”
Although the reservists are civilians from all walks of life, once they get into uniform, all ethnic, ideological and socioeconomic differences are obliterated, Peres said. There is a sense of camaraderie between officers and those who serve under them that is not emulated in any other country in the world, he added.
“There is nothing more Israeli than a unit of reservists,” Peres said.
Emphasizing the experience and responsibility of today’s reservists, Peres said they are the bridge for the peace process because they are equipped to meet any challenge and any opportunity.
As for the younger generation, Peres did not detect the same degree of commitment after the completion of compulsory army service and regretted the number of dropouts, a phenomenon that needs to be contended with, he said, urging that conditions be created whereby young people who for religious or ideological reasons do not serve in the IDF will be able to serve elsewhere without compromising their beliefs.
Peres also said reservists should be better compensated for loss of income while serving in the army.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak took the podium as well. Excellence is not just a feature of special circumstances, he said, rather, it is part of one’s DNA.
Looking out from the podium at reservists from the army, air force and navy, Barak said, “For you, excellence is a norm.”
Reviewing opportunities and challenges facing the nation, he declared, “We can rely only on ourselves. When I say ourselves, I mean the IDF on the quiet command of Benny Gantz.”
While emphasizing that security and peace are Israel’s central goals, and that no stone should be left unturned in the effort to resume peace negotiations, he cautioned that even in the pursuit of peace, Israel must remain alert to every danger.
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said the readiness to continue to serve at the expense of studies, work and family is something that should not be taken for granted.
Gantz was particularly appreciative that bereaved families of reservists who fell in battle in the 2006 Lebanon War were in attendance at the ceremony.
Following Barak’s line of thinking about opportunities and challenges, Gantz said that in the long run, Israel’s future looked brighter, despite the current turmoil in the Middle East posing new concerns.