President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Tuesday 15 January / 9 Shevat, met with outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Gadi Eisenkot and incoming IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Aviv Kochavi and their wives at Beit HaNasi as Lt-Gen Kochavi begins his term as Chief of Staff and Lt-Gen Eisenkot concludes his.
The president embraced them both warmly and said, “It is said that when paratroopers replace Golani on the front line, they immediately count how many operations Golani carried out during their time. And their mission from that moment on is to do the same number of operations, and at least one more. Gadi, you grew up in Golani, in Brigade No. 1, from recruit to brigade commander and became our no. 1 soldier. Your roots are the roots of the tree on the Golani unit badge. Gadi, under your command, the IDF never stopped fighting on all fronts. Fighting between wars is a new kind of conflict – demanding, Sisyphean, draining and difficult. Aviv was at your side during this campaign, with you as your deputy.”
turned to the incoming Chief of Staff and added, “Aviv, in you, the IDF is getting a superb Chief of Staff. The best of the best. I am sure that you will steer the IDF through the challenges ahead with the same determination that you have shown up until now. You understand the complexity and the weight of responsibility. Now, no-one bears a greater responsibility than you.”
At the end of his remarks, the president said, “I would like say something to all Israelis today – the Chief of Staff is the Chief of Staff of the IDF. They are the heads of the people’s army, commanders of us all, not of left or of right.” The president shook Gadi’s hand and said to him, with feeling “Blessed are you as you leave”, and turned to Aviv, shook his hand and said “and blessed are you as you arrive.”
Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff
Lt-Gen Gadi Eisenkot thanked the president for the past four years and said, “Mr President, I see a great deal of symbolism in the fact that we come here to Beit HaNasi after having been to the national memorial for the fallen soldiers of the IDF and to the Western Wall. I say that for two reasons – firstly, the presidency represents the importance of the state, which is a key value for the IDF. The second reason is the affection for the IDF, the love, the support and most importantly the good advice that you have shown throughout my term of office. I am sure that it will continue in Aviv’s term.” Gadi said, with a smile: “and if there is one lesson we have learned after four years, I suggest that we consider bringing back the communal singing on Independence Day. I think we may have missed something there.”
Incoming IDF Chief of Staff
Lt-Gen Aviv Kochavi: “I feel a very heavy responsibility, and at the same time I really do feel confident because of the people we have. I fully understand the challenges we face and am confident that we will be able to address them and deal with them as required. In the spirit of what the outgoing Chief of Staff, Gadi, said, I will add another word about Beit HaNasi. This house is not just a symbol of the state, it is also a symbol of unity and I will do whatever I can to ensure that the IDF is a source of unity for all the different elements of the Israeli people, a place that respects everyone and give everyone the space to feel like it is their home.”
The couples then went to eat a vegetarian lunch, in recognition of the IDF’s first vegetarian Chief of Staff.
Attached photo credits: Mark Neiman (GPO)