Letter from PM Barak to IDF Chief-of-Staff
(Communicated by Defense Minister’s Media Advisor)
Following is the text of the letter sent by Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz today (Wednesday) 24.5.2000:
At this moment, all IDF soldiers are on Israeli soil thus ending long years in Lebanon.
On behalf of the citizens of the State of Israel, the government and myself, I wish to honor you and generations of IDF soldiers and commanders for your efforts in this bitter war, and on your safe return home having fulfilled the mission of protecting the northern settlements. The responsibility for this difficult task for years fell on the shoulders of the commanders and soldiers of the Northern Area Command, and I cannot but thank them from the depths of my heart.
On this long road that has lasted for years, we lost our best friends, soldiers and commanders. When we hear the cries of bereavement of the mothers and fathers, we cannot forget the price in blood paid by the families for the difficult mission to protect the lives and daily routines of the residents of the north. Our hearts are with you today.
I also wish you to thank on my behalf the soldiers and commanders of the SLA whose mission to defend their homes and families in Lebanon has come to an end. We share their pain at being uprooted from their homeland. We will support them and extend our hands to courageous and beloved brothers.
I wish to extend my family’s and my heartfelt feelings, as well as those of the government, to the wounded and crippled, and to wish them full recovery. Special thanks are due to the medical teams and hospital managers in the north, in particular Rambam Hospital in Haifa, who day and night for years feared the sound of helicopters and gave our wounded soldiers the best of their skills to save lives. I have no words that can thank them enough.
Finally, on behalf of the all the governments of Israel of the past decades, I honor the northern residents and IDF soldiers and commanders who withstood days and nights of bitter war in the outposts, ambushes, convoys to extend a hand to the SLA to aid the citizens of Lebanon. They carried out their task under the hardest conditions and handled the difficult assignments with honor. If it were only possible, I would like to shake the hands of each and every one of the IDF and other defense establishment personnel.
No-one knows better than I that the war is not yet over. We may yet face hard days ahead, days of fire and battle. I am certain, Chief of Staff, that we will meet the comings missions with honor and pride and bring security and peace to the State of Israel.
IDF soldiers and commanders, I salute you.
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