Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks today (Wednesday, 27 December 2017), at Hatzerim Air Force Base, at the IDF pilot’s course graduation ceremony:
“Today the air force is at the peak of its abilities – with the best technological tools, the best planes in the world, the best pilots in the world, with offensive and defensive capabilities and with awesome firepower that can reach both short-range and distant targets as necessary.
We continue to face major challenges in the north, south and east. On all of these fronts we find the arms of radical Islam, which has already caused terrible disasters in our region but not in our state.
We are an island in a very stormy sea. We are guarding our security based on a clear policy: we will not allow Iranian military forces to establish bases in Syria in order to attack us and we will act to prevent the manufacture of precise and deadly weapons aimed at us.
Regarding the Gaza Strip, we want the local population to live its life quietly and calmly but the decision as to whether or not there is quiet in Gaza depends, first of all, on Gaza. We will neither allow nor tolerate any escalation on the part of Hamas or any other terrorist element against the State of Israel. We will use all means to defend our sovereignty and the security of Israeli citizens.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu added:
“We are taking care to develop our strength on land, at sea and in the air, and in intelligence and cyber. We frequently outpace the world in identifying and meeting new challenges. We did this with active defense systems, including Iron Dome and other systems. We are currently doing so with tunnels and we are justly proud of our technology. We are now meeting a new threat, a new challenge that many of you are familiar with – that of UAVs. Here as well we are in the vanguard and the air force is adapting itself to, and developing, the most advanced technology in the world.”