Gabi Ashkenazi took over as Israel’s army chief of staff in a ceremony on Wednesday. Ashkenazi was awarded the rank of lieutenant-general by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and the ceremony was attended by former chiefs of staff Dan Halutz and Moshe Ya’alon as well as by politicians and Ashkenazi’s family members.
“The greatest challenge is rehabilitating the Israeli army’s abilities and applying the lessons learned from the second Lebanon war,” said the new chief of staff.
He expressed appreciation for reserve soldiers and is prepared to boost their training for the next time at war.
“As a son of this land whose parents came from foreign countries,” added Ashkenazi on a personal note, “the Israeli army was home to me, and a melting pot. I will work to preserve it as an army of the people operating among its people and community.”
Ashkenazi also praised his predecessor, “Your personal, quality contribution to the defense of the people and the country is very admirable. The people of Israel and the defense establishment should be thankful to you. Danny, my friend, in the name of the people of Israel, I salute you."