Minister Ya'alon. (Hadas Parush/Flash90) (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Moshe Ya'alon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), Defense Minister Moshe Boogie Yaalon (L), and IDF Chief of Staff, Gabi Eizenkott (R), toast during a meeting of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) General Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (L), and IDF Chief of Staff, Gadi Eizenkott (R), toast during a meeting of the IDF General Staff.

On the occasion of Israel’s 67th anniversary, the prime minister and security leadership recognized those who dedicate their lives to the security of the Jewish state.

The IDF General Staff convened on Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot to celebrate Israel’s 67th anniversary. Independence Day, or Yom Ha’Atzmaut in Hebrew, begins this year on Wednesday evening, April 22, and lasts throughout Thursday.

At the meeting, Ya’alon lauded the IDF, praising the general staff for their professionalism and outstanding conduct.

“Seated here are the leaders that understand the significance of the struggle for independence and the price it entails,” Ya’alon said. “Seated here is a general staff with vast experience in the management of combat and operations, one that grasps the complexities and fluctuations that continue to occur in the Middle East.”

The general staff is skilled and sober-minded, he continued, noting their ability to examine the various issues and seek new ways of thinking in order to face the new challenges.

Relating to Israel’s annual pairing of Memorial Day for the victims of war and terror with Independence Day – Yom Ha’atzmaut immediately follows Yom HaZikaron –Ya’alon said that “this week is of great significance. It combines the elements of struggling for independence and appreciating it.” Independence should not be taking for granted, he explained, underscoring the “price paid to retain it, which we are well acquainted with.”

This heavy price “forces each and every one sitting here to understand why it is important to refrain from war as much as possible.”

“Here is a group that can be counted on,” he concluded.

“The meaning of independence in my eyes is first and foremost the ability to defend yourself,” said Netanyahu. “We have a solution to contend with the mounting threats around us, and the solution is in this room. I trust you, Chief of Staff. And I trust you [the general staff] and the IDF. The people of Israel trust you.”

Recognizing Israel’s Unsung Heroes

Netanyahu also met on Monday with heads of Israel’s security establishment ahead of Independence Day, including forums of the Mossad (agency for intelligence and counter-terrorism), the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency), the National Cyber Bureau and the Atomic Energy Commission.

Shin Bet head Cohen and PM Netanyahu. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Shin Bet head Cohen and PM Netanyahu. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Netanyahu noted Shin Bet’s significant contribution to the security of the country, as well as the hundreds of counter-terrorism operations it carried out over the past year. Pointing to the professionalism, creativity, incisiveness and dedication of its personnel, he said, “Your determination has saved many lives, and for that I and the citizens of the State of Israel thank you.”

Exceptional Mossad personnel received citations awarded by its director, Tamir Pardo, for unique and daring actions that featured pioneering initiatives, creative thinking, heroism and courage.

Pardo also awarded certificates of appreciation to units that performed outstanding operations, including one that gathered intelligence on the disappearance of Jews who emigrated from Iran in the 1990’s.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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