The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee bade farewell on Tuesday (December 23, 2014) to IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz. MK Zeev Elkin (Likud), Chairman of the committee, opened the meeting by stating, “It is a great opportunity to thank you on behalf of all the members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the fruitful cooperation, even during less simple times.

”You represent the structure in which the best people in Israeli society are found. Our mission, for the most part, is to allow you all to do what you do best. Even though we are in the midst of an electoral campaign, and the budget issue has been postponed, I have no doubt that those who replace us will be required to address this issue, which is critical for the performance of the Israel Defense Forces and its readiness to face every mission. This is not a joke, nor a game. When the issue was not taken seriously, a heavy price was paid. I have no doubt that this will be the first challenge to be faced by the government that will rise after the elections”, Elkin said.

Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein (Likud) also thanked the outgoing chief of staff: “I want to thank you on behalf of all members of the Knesset. Not only for the recent operation (Operation Protective Edge), but also for your many years in the IDF. On the one hand, you have been a professional and resolute chief of staff, and on the other hand, you knew how to look the public in the eye, especially during the last war, when half of the country was in the frontline. You deserve to rest after all these years, but I have no doubt that you will keep contributing to the people and the state”.

The outgoing chief of staff told the MKs that “the State of Israel is facing too many challenges, so it must consider to what extent it deals with each one of them. We have an essential threshold, which is the security threshold that demands sufficient investments all the time. We must guarantee that the IDF shall be a strong combatant military structure, and also invest some in the future, in view of tomorrow’s challenges. I believe my substitute will do a very good job in facing future challenges – which will be different and will keep changing from what we knew in the past. I believe that the IDF will not change its values. It will not change. It will not change, and this is a blessing. And regarding its other aspects, it will change. It will change. It will change, and this is also a blessing. Finding the right balance between what should be kept and what should be changed is the way to success”.

MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said to Gantz: “We thank you and we salute you for your decades in the service. We understand what kind of service this is, particularly for a chief of staff in Israel, the commander of the IDF. You have faced very complex challenges and have taken them on with great success, with an exclamation point. You have emboldened the IDF. Today’s IDF is stronger, fitter and better prepared for any mission. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that you have kept the spirit of the IDF, and you did it in an exemplary manner. You maintained the balance between the use of force and restraint and good judgment while commanding the IDF. Under your command, the very position of chief of staff was undoubtedly strengthened”.