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Avigdor Liberman (L) greets Gadi Eisenkot (R) at a ceremony marking the completion of his tenure as IDF chief, January 13th, 2018.(Photo by: ANNA AHRONHEIM)
Politicians bid their farewell to IDF Chief Gadi Eisenkot
Eisenkot, whose tenure is scheduled to end this week, has headed the army since February 2015 and will be replaced by Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, and other Israeli leaders hosted IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot at the Kiryia military complex in Tel Aviv on Sunday to bid farewell to the outgoing military chief. Eisenkot, whose tenure is scheduled to end this week, has headed the army since February 2015 and will be replaced by Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

"You served the IDF for over 40 years, making it a record for any Chief of Staff," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "I told you when you started that you will not have a single day of mercy, because in the Middle East, only the strong survive."

"We worked together for the past 4 years to answer four threats," Netanyahu revealed.

"The first and most dangerous threat was Iran's nuclear power," Netanyahu said. "Iran has been trying to achieve nuclear powers to threaten us, but we have managed to prevent that, and thanks to the information we delivered to Trump, the US put new sanctions on them."

Netanyahu continued with the second threat, the Iranian attempts to establish roots in Syria. "We attacked hundreds of times in Syria to protect our security, and even the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is aware of that."

The third threat Netanyahu revealed was Hezbollah's threat. "Hezbollah claimed to have hundreds of rockets in its arsenal, but due to our phenomenal activity, they barely have a few dozens remaining."

"The final threat we tackled was the terror tunnel threat, today we completed operation Northern Shield and I am thankful for that." Netanyahu remarked.

"The citizens of Israel no little of the hundreds of bold operations we carried out in the last 4 years under your command," Netanyahu concluded. "Now it is time for you to spend time with your family. I thank you for your service."

"We say our goodbyes to you as guardian of our walls," President Reuven Rivlin thanked Eisenkot. "Under your command the IDF did not fight in a war, but continued to fight on all the Israeli fronts.""You acknowledged the advantages and disadvantages of the IDF, and took responsibility for its actions," Rivlin continued. "When you were appointed as Chief of Staff I knew that the IDF is in the right hands, you were the right man in the right place at the right time."

Rivlin concluded saying that "[he] hopes to see [Eisenkot] at the forefront of public activity, despite his distaste of the spotlight."

Eisenkot's legacy will largely be determined after the fact, as Israel faced no wars during his time as IDF chief. He took strong stands for his ideals when it came to Gaza and Iran and was unafraid to show a different side to his position.
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