Chief of Staff: Newest officers show “strength of Israeli society”

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

400 officers graduated this week; defense minister: Despite Iranian elections, Israel is “realistic regarding the Iranian regime’s desire to acquire nuclear weapons”

Date: 20/06/2013, 8:39 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

The latest class of IDF (Zahal) officers graduated from their training course in a ceremony held yesterday (Wednesday, June 19) at the officers’ training school in Mitzpe Ramon. Those in attendance included Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Chief of the Ground Forces Command Maj. Gen. Guy Zur, Commander of the Officers School Col. Eran Niv, families of the graduates and guests.

Speaking at the ceremony, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon discussed regional developments and their impact on the IDF (Zahal). “We are examining the new developments in Iran in light of the election results, but we are also realistic regarding the Iranian regime’s desire to acquire nuclear weapons,” he said. “The regime in Tehran, which speaks openly about the destruction of the State of Israel, will not change its way and will not cease its drive for nuclear weapons unless it understands that the Western world is determined to prevent it. So far, the Iranian regime does not sense this, and there is a need for a significant intensification of the pressure from the Western nations, so as to lead it to the dilemma of [acquisition of a nuclear] bomb or survival.”

Addressing the course graduates, Defense Minister Ya’alon said, “You will learn that your rank isn’t sufficient for leadership. You will need to prove yourselves as thoughtful, professional and ethical officers.”

The defense minister also discussed the cuts in Israel’s defense budget. “You will also have to cope with a series of domestic challenges including, among other things, financial hardships and budget constraints,” he told the new officers. “We have committed ourselves in the past, and I will commit to you again, to do whatever it takes to minimize the damage to our strength, competence and preparedness, so as to keep the IDF (Zahal) a strong, high-quality and victorious military.”

The Chief of Staff also addressed the graduates. “Our preparedness as an army begins in your units, in the strengths of the soldiers at the vanguard. Against the challenges the IDF (Zahal) faces these days – both near and far, those of security and those of resources – maintaining our preparedness and competence as a military is our supreme mission. Each and every one of you has a part to play in this mission,” he said.

“You stand here before us, the future generation of Israeli citizens – men and women, religious and secular, of different religions, urban dwellers alongside residents of moshavim and kibbutzim – united in your path and in your objective,” he stated. “There is no more precise proof, no more moving proof, of the strength of Israeli society – at the forefront of which the IDF (Zahal) stands as the nation’s army – of our ability to work together and together to overcome the challenges facing us and triumph.”

Chief of the Ground Forces Command Maj. Gen. Guy Zur also addressed the graduates. “‘Those who want peace prepare for war’ – peace is indeed our hearts’ desire, but our existence is fraught with wars. Tests on the battlefield await us, which the ground forces will have to overcome,” he said “The State of Israel is strong, secure and just. You will lead it to achieve missions and objectives.”

The graduation ceremony followed an intensive eight-month training course. With its conclusion, the graduates received the rank of second lieutenant. They will now be based throughout the combat units of the IDF (Zahal)’s Ground Forces.

Roughly 400 officers successfully completed this course, roughly 25 of them women.