(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi landed in Brussels Tuesday morning (13 November) in order to participate in a NATO summit. Lieutenant General Ashkenazi met with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces. 

During the summit, the Chief of Staff discussed the security challenges facing Israel, and the Middle East in general. He also presented the lessons learnt and implemented from the stocktaking of the Second Lebanon War.

"We all agree that we must be prepared for these complicated threats we face. These challenges encompass facing terrorists, suicide bombers and guerilla fighter. We face weapons such as precision guided fire, improvised explosives and sophisticated weaponry, and both conventional and unconventional threats," said Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi during his speech to the Chief of Staffs participating in the NATO summit.

"These many threats need complex yet appropriate responses. We must make this response our priority and deal with each problem accordingly. Due to the current circumstances, the IDF must be on full alert, always prepared and one foot ahead of the enemy," added the Chief of Staff.

During his address to his counterparts the Chief of Staff detailed the operations conducted following the Second Lebanon War. 

"Looking back, I am certain that the Second Lebanon War achieved several crucial victories in the security of Israel, and strengthened the Israeli resolve," he said. "We have gone through major and intensive changes throughout the entire system. We wanted to learn where we had been wrong, what we could fix and what would the best way to implement the changes. As a result we are a stronger, smarter and fresher IDF in all aspects. We must maintain our high standers while never forgetting our foundation. We train more, study more, know more about the enemy, and are more experienced and sure then ever before".

The Chief of Staff continued his address stressing that the IDF’s main goal in all its missions and operations is the security of the state of Israel and her citizens and to prevent the enemy from harming the routine life in the country.

The Chief of Staff further stressed the great importance in cooperation between NATO-allied countries with Israel. "We can achieve so much more through cooperation. The threats we face grow more and more complex. World terror, nuclear bombs in the hands of extremist nations and the need to protect ourselves from ballistic missiles – we all face these same threats and must search for answers through cooperation. Together we can achieve a better future for the entire world."

During the second day of his visit, the Chief of Staff conducted a series of meetings with military commanders and his fellow Chiefs of Staff. Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi met with his colleague, the Chief of Staff of the Russian Army, and with the Chiefs of Staff of the Canadian, Turkish, German, British and Italian armies. During the various meetings, the Chief of Staff discussed the security situation in the Middle East and the security challenges facing the western world in the common struggle against global terror. He emphasized the lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War and expressed his concerns about nuclear proliferation in the region. He also requested any assistance that his counterparts could provide in the continuing struggle for the return of the missing IDF soldiers to Israel.