In a ceremony held at the Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem on Monday, Gadi Eizenkot was sworn as Israel’s 21st IDF Chief of Staff, replacing Benny Gantz.
Eizenkot was born in 1960. He joined the Golani Brigade upon his enlistment to the IDF, and participated in all of Israel’s wars and operations in the last 35 years, including both Lebanese wars, both Intifadas and all recent operations in the Gaza Strip.
Eizenkot held a number of prominent roles within the IDF including Commander of the Northern Command, Commander of the Golani Brigade, Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division and Military Secretary to the Prime Minister.
In his speech, Eizenkot stated that “the Middle East is in the midst of a challenging period. Changes the region is going through have left it almost unrecognizable. The Middle East is now characterized by volatility and instability. Now, more than ever, we must act in a decisive, sophisticated and responsible manner… Only a strong and decisive IDF will fulfill its calling, to deter our enemies, remove the threat of war, defend Israel and win armed conflicts.”
Eizenkot thanked Benny Gantz for his 38 years of military service. “Benny, throughout your years in the IDF, Israel’s security has always guided your actions. You were always responsible and had a strong sense of believe that our way is just… Thank you for the way you commanded the IDF.”
Eizenkot finished his speech with a personal commitment. “I pledge to carry on fulfilling the vision the founders of the state of Israel had. I will carry the torch of security which constitutes the foundation for the strengthening and existence of the state of Israel.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu congratulated Eizenkot and stated, “You are entering the role of Chief of General Staff with all the experience and knowledge a great military leader should have.” Netanyahu then addressed Eizenkot, “I promise that you won’t have one day of grace, not even one… for in the Middle East there is no mercy for the weak, only the strong survive.”
“I have no doubt the responsibility, tenacity and experience that characterize you, will serve us and you, when confronting the great challenges that lay before us. The people of Israel trust you, the Israeli government trusts you, and Gadi, I trust you,” Netanyahu concluded.