President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin today, Monday 9 September 2019 / 9 Elul, got a special surprise for his 80 birthday during his visit to the IDF Commando Brigade at the Beit Lid army base.
After a special meeting with the commanders of the division and comprehensive reviews of its abilities, the president met and spoke with special forces soldiers from the Egoz, Maglan and Duvdevan units. Accompanied by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi and GOC Central Command Maj. Gen Nadav Padan, the president was welcomed with enthusiastic singing to mark his birthday.
The entire IDF celebrated the president’s birthday with best wishes, singing and even a cake. The Chief of Staff presented the president with spectacular photo album, with 80 pictures of his visits to the IDF to mark the number of years he is celebrating.
As the president began speaking
to the soldiers, his voice wavered with emotion as he thanked them after watching vido messages sent by men and women from all parts of the IDF. The president also thanked them for the warm reception his late wife Nechama ז”ל always received from the soldiers and commanders, and said with a sad smile: “I think that if Nechama could see that, she would say to herself that if so many soldiers are sending me best wishes, maybe I’m a pretty good guy.”
“There is nothing more thrilling than to celebrate your 80th birthday with the youngest and most daring brigade in the army. With you, I feel safe and young,” said the president. “In Pirke Avot (the Ethics of the Fathers), it says ‘80 years old for heroism.’ But you, you are the real heroes. You are the iron fist of the IDF and of the State of Israel. Way to go! I love you!”
The president added
“The challenges we face today, in recent months and particularly in the past few weeks, in the north and in the south, are intensifying. I know that the Commando Brigade has played a significant part in IDF operations recently. As it has been, I’m sure it will be in the future too.”
“All those who seek our harm should know that if they try to attack us with force, we will use force to crush them. We are ready and able to protect the citizens of the State of Israel wherever they are and without hesitation,” the president stressed. “As you commandoes say, ‘breathing down your enemies’ necks’. We are ready and don’t want to show you just how prepared we are. Israel will continue to react forcefully and aggressively against any attempt to undermine the security of its citizens.”
The Chief of Staff read his hand-written dedication in the album given to the president. “His Excellency the President, Mr. Reuven Rivlin, my president, our president! As you enter your decade of heroism, I thank you personally and on behalf of the Israel Defense Forces for the right to serve the state, and the right to serve it when you are president. You are a source of inspiration and an example to all of us. I wish you many more years of meaningful work, and that you and the people of this country enjoy of the fruits of what you have created and done. Your pride in this country is a source and symbol of our power. I am, in very high esteem, yours – Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Chief of the General Staff.”
Attached photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)