Major General Moshe Ya’alon assumed the position of Chief of the IDF General Staff this morning, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. He will replace Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, the retiring Chief of Staff, who has served as Chief of Staff for four years, including a period of intense fighting. Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz is completing his tenure after 36 years of service in the IDF and of contributing to Israel’s security.

The retiring Chief of Staff said in his address, “the recent years were years of continuous and arduous fighting on many fronts, against atrocious terror that has targeted many civilians and soldiers. Even during this painful and difficult period, we continue to believe in our morality, and have adhered to our desire to live in our land, in peace and safety alongside our neighbors. I know that thanks to the strength of the IDF and the other security forces and because of the strength and determination of the Israeli society, we will prevail and emerge victorious from this test”. The incoming Chief of Staff, Lt.Gen. Moshe Ya’alon is the 17th Chief of Staff of the State of Israel.

Lt. Gen. Ya’alon is entering office after 32 years of military service, and is expected to lead the IDF through a challenging and difficult period. The new Chief of Staff stressed in his address, saying ” I accept the command of the IDF today with a deep sense of responsibility. The meaning of this responsibility is the constant striving to maximize the operation of the IDF, for the protection of the State of Israel and its citizens. In this critical time the IDF has the central role in achieving the victory and security for Israel, this, while taking an active part in strengthening the resilience of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The complexity of these times affords us unique human and national situations. More than ever, we are required to unite all the qualities that comprise the strength of the IDF, meaning you, the IDF soldiers and commanders. The power is within you, in your morality, professionalism, quality of thinking, determination, and devotion. This is how the IDF spirit developed, and you are the ones carrying the torch.”

In his address the Chief of Staff stressed the need to “fearlessly contend with unusual phenomena that might undermine the moral basis of our actions.”

The Chief of Staff concluded by saying: “As I assume office, I remember the fallen, embrace the bereaved families, support the IDF invalids who bear their pain every day, and promise to continue and make every effort to bring our prisoners of war and MIA’s home. The ceremony was held this morning and was attended by the Prime Minister Mr. Ariel Sharon, the Minister of Defense Mr. Binyamin Ben Eliezer, the Government ministers, the members of the IDF General Staff, former Chiefs of Staff, the Head of the Mossad, the Head of the Israel Security Agency, the Police Commissioner and family members of the retiring Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz and of the incoming Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon.