Air Force Base
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin made a special visit today, Tuesday 10 December / 12 Kislev, to the IDF’s Tel Nof Air Force Base, where he was guest of honor at a conference on the IAF’s work plan for 2020. In a conversation with IAF Commander Maj Gen Amikam Norkin on current challenges, held in the presence of the IAF’s senior command, the president commented on the questions he heard from the commanders.
“The IDF’s ability to create shared Israeli Hope is unlike any other part of Israeli society,” said the president. “I know that all the different parts of our population increasingly want to be part of wider society, and the need to create frameworks that afford that opportunity to all the tribes is part of our DNA,” he replied in answer to a question about the ability to create partnership between the different groups of Israeli society.
The president was asked
if he thinks that Israeli Hope is within us. “I believe that the people in Israel understands the importance of bringing all the groups together in society and economy. It is a social and economic priority of the first order,” he said, describing the initiatives that run under the Israeli Hope program at Beit HaNasi.
The president also spoke on the question of the IDF becoming a professional army in some logistical and technological areas, and firmly rejected the possibility. “We serve our people because if we do not, who will? In our security situation, we must not give up on the idea of the IDF as the people’s army. I know that the IDF’s commanders are doing everything possible to give every person serving the very best Israel can offer. We need to know how to compensate those who serve so that the question does not arise, because there is no substitute for our people and we must not get to that situation, given the position our country is in. In our security situation, under no circumstances should we lose the IDF’s role as the people’s army,” said the president.
At the end of his remarks
the president thanked those serving, saying with appreciation, “I know that the price you pay for your service is a personal one. You see its signs at home, on the faces of the children and partners. I want you to know that in every part of the country, every citizen knows how great your sacrifice is and appreciates it deeply and from the heart. You are the best of our people, and I thank you. Do not be downhearted, even if we do not always manage to express our appreciation for you clearly enough. I would like to take this opportunity to say, now and always, personally and on behalf of the people of Israel – thank you for the long hours, for the nights, for the sacrifice and the volunteerism, for being ready to serve, always, wholeheartedly and willingly.”
IAF Commander Maj Gen Amikam Norkin said, “Enlisted men and women, officers and NCOs from across Israeli society serve In the Israeli Air Force, and we are proud of that. I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to you, Mr President, on behalf of us all, for your support and being with us in our various fields of operation and for being here today as we discuss and approve our annual work plans.”
The president then visited
the unit responsible for the IAF’s cooperation with the German air force and was briefed on the joint exercises they hold which are a source of mutual enrichment. At the end of his visit, he met the ‘Night Raiders’ squadron, which was awarded a Chief of Staff’s Commendation for rescue sorties during the Khan Yunis operation last year. The president shook hands with the members of the squadron and expressed his deep appreciation for their professionalism and courage.
Attached photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)