Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz at his Tel Aviv office Thursday, ahead of latter's stepping down and the IDF Chief-of-Staff changeover ceremony, to be held on Monday in Jerusalem.
"I would like to thank you for your long years of service on behalf of the security of the state, especially over the last four years in which you led the IDF as Chief-of-Staff," Netanyahu said. "These were four extraordinarily challenging years during a time of unprecedented regional upheaval in which nations collapsed, terrorist organizations – most of them backed by Iran – entered through the cracks and Iran has been trying to grab us in a chokehold from several directions."
"During this time, you led IDF actions, openly and in secret, near and far, with professionalism, determination and responsibility," he continued. "We were active in two operations on the Gaza front and in other sectors, including many things that the public is not aware of."
"I would like to thank you for this excellent service."
Netanyahu then addressed challenges the IDF faces ahead.
"I know that you are leaving behind an army that is equal to all of these challenges," he noted. "One of them is now happening before our eyes as thousands of Hezbollah fighters are present in Syria, including southern Syria, opposite our border, directed by Iran."
"We are aware of these challenges and the army that you are leaving is equal to them," he continued. "I would like to thank you for this service."
IDF Chief-of-Staff Gantz thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu and said, "These certainly were four challenging years which required joint work."
Netanyahu presented Gantz with a copy of The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu and wrote the following dedication: "To Chief-of-Staff Benny Gantz upon your retirement from the IDF, memoirs of one fighter to another. With great appreciation for your contribution to the security of Israel and for your leadership during a very challenging time. Binyamin Netanyahu."
Gantz will step down on February 16, to be replaced by Major General Gadi Eizenkot.