Chief of Staff: IDF walks in the path of the partisans

Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz in Poland, yesterday. Photo: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s Unit

Lt. Gen. Gantz on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance day: “We will never lose hope for peace and security in the Land of Israel”

Date: 04/08/2013, 3:19 PM     Author: Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz

Just a few weeks ago, we sat down for the Passover Seder, and together with the entire Jewish people throughout Israel and the world, we again read the command: “In every generation, a person is obligated to see oneself as if he or she had left Egypt.”

When we seek to connect with the memories of the victims of our people’s Holocaust, to remember their pain and the horrors of the deaths of the six million, we are not capable of grasping the extent of the destruction. But we must try to imagine the scenes: the image of the members of a family, standing side by side on the edge of the valley of death; the image of a mother whose baby has been ripped from her bosom; the terror of the children hiding at the sound of the footsteps of the murderers outside their door. We must see ourselves as if we and our loved ones had escaped by the skin of our teeth from the jaws of the Nazis, from the ghettos and from the death camps. To see the State of Israel and the heavy price that has been paid for it also through the eyes of the six million: as the dream of generations, as a shelter and as a home.

We remember, and know that the existence of our state – a Jewish and democratic state, sovereign and independent, in the land of Israel – is not to be taken for granted. Today, we stand tall, as a nation that overcame the depths of cruelty and moral depravity of our enemies; as a state that sees human dignity as a value of the highest order; as a military for which ethical combat is a guiding light.

At this time, when the voices of those who wish us harm from close and who threaten the State of Israel’s existence from afar abound, the IDF (Zahal) stands against them, resolute and tough. Sixty-eight years after the Nazi oppressor was defeated, we remain in the midst of the persistent, ongoing battle for the life and security of the People of Israel.

You – the soldiers and commanders of the IDF (Zahal) on land, in the air and at sea, working also now for the security of the state – walk in the footsteps of the ghetto fighters and the partisans. With courage, and with faith in the path and the goal, you carry with you the legacy of comradeship – the same rare and powerful comradeship that exists in every survivor among the prisoners of the camps. But this time, we are fighting for what we established and what we built in our land. This time, we grip a mighty sword and a shield of steel. We carry the generations in our hearts, the memory of the Holocaust, the heroism and the redemption, and our eyes look to the future. We will continue to fight with all our might, but we will never lose hope for peace and security in the Land of Israel.