Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi: “The Quiet in the South is fragile”

Itamar Hassan, IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

In a joint combat exercise in the Shizafon military base, various IDF (Zahal) corps and branches demonstrated cooperative capabilities

Date: 02/02/2010, 3:41 PM     Author: Roni Efrat

During a joint combat exercise on Tuesday morning (Feb. 2) the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, said: “The blessed quiet in the South is solid and is based on effective deterrence, but it is also fragile. It would be impossible to compare the situation in the South after Operation Cast Lead, from the residents’ standpoint. Citizens of Israel need to live in security and that is the goal of our activities.”

The Chief of the General Staff spoke to cadets from the IDF (Zahal) Officers’ Course who participated in the exercise, saying: “It could be that we may be dragged into a sort of escalation, during which we would need to use our forces, and that could be during your time in the military. What you have seen here in this demonstration, you will yourselves know how to implement on the ground. Whether in the South or the North, in the field or in urban settings, you must prepare your soldiers to do this in a professional manner, by staying truthful to the mission and by overcoming the enemies’ obstacles.”

He added that the IDF (Zahal) “has among the best fighting capabilities in the world, but all of this will be worth a bunch of scrap metal if we do not know how to properly use it”.

Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi was impressed by the training exercise and said that it “showed the tools to guide the IDF (Zahal) forces. Ultimately, the fighting capability is determined not only by fire power but also by coordination. We cannot with fire alone neutralize Hezbollah, to deepen the impact, and to minimize shots fired at Israel. The collective results of each individual person here will determine if we will be victorious or not. He who prepares, wins. He who understands the mission, completes it properly.” He added that there would be no more simulations or training exercises, but that the next time would be the real thing.

With that, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi told the future officers that “the true advantage of the IDF (Zahal) is all of you. When you are strong in your spirit and not only in your physical power, you understand the importance of what you do. In the event that a true threat will be realized, you will remove it in practice. Israel has faith in the IDF (Zahal) which knows how to do all of this.”

Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi summarized by saying to the officers: “I trust you and feel secure with you. We understand the magnitude of the responsibility resting on our shoulders in preparing the forces and leading them if that is required.”

In addition to the Chief of the General Staff, the exercise held onTuesday (Feb. 2) in the Shizafon military base was attended by the Commander of the GOC Army Headquarters, Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman, and senior staff of the Infantry Corps. The joint combat exercise was a demonstration of the combined capabilities of the ground forces.