Chief of the General Staff speaks about the security situation at the northern border and the release of Gilad Shalit

Date: 24/10/2009, 12:11 PM     Author: Nadav Deutscher

On Wednesday (Dec. 23), the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, spoke at the 30th Congress of Zionist Israeli Youth about the release of the captured soldier Gilad Shalit. “To return Gilad Shalit home is a national mission. As the commander of the IDF (Zahal) I am telling you – we are obligated to return him home in peace,” he said to the thousands of young people attending the Congress. “We have to keep the precise details safe within closed discussions, but I very much hope that this mission will be completed.”
The Chief of the General Staff also spoke to the youths about the importance of the IDF (Zahal)’s decisions regarding the complex security reality of the State of Israel: “There are countries and organizations that do not accept our existence, and the IDF (Zahal) is the safety insurance of the State of Israel. Only a strong and courageous army can ensure the existence of this State.”
Answering a question asked by one of the youths regarding the security situation at the northern Israeli border, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi explained that despite the current quiet, the IDF (Zahal) is preparing itself for more serious situations. “The area is quiet, but we are ready for any reality,” declared the Chief of the General Staff.
“Both the Golan Heights and the Lebanese border area are quiet,” said Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi. “Nevertheless, it is clear that the Hezbollah terror organization does not rest and continues to become stronger. While the official bodies in Lebanon are turning a blind eye, Hezbollah smuggles weapons to Lebanese villages, and we have no doubt that they are preparing themselves to use them. We are not resting, and if we will have to protect the northern border, we will be ready for it,” concluded the Chief of the General Staff.