IDF Chief of Staff Gantz: Do Not Underestimate Our Enemies

Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, spoke Sunday morning at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya about Israel's current security situation. 

Among other things, he addressed the terror attack on Har Dov last Wednesday, global threats to Israel, and the need to promote political negotiations to achieve peace in the region. 

"We are in a very sensitive period in terms of Israeli's political reality," Gantz stated. "I'm wearing a [military] uniform, but there is doubt that the subject of negotiations with the Palestinians is very important."

"I assume they [the government] will find a way to move forward with it. Even the rest of the world may have to intervene in this conflict."

Gantz then commented on the Hezbollah missile attack on a convoy of IDF vehicles that occurred last week. Two IDF soldiers – Major Yochai Kalengel, 25, and Staff Sergeant Dor Nini, 20, were killed in the attack. 

"Hezbollah waited patiently, gathered intelligence, found a weak spot, and fired the Cornet missile from a distance of 5.5 kilometers," Gantz recounted.

"Do not underestimate our enemies. We worked all weekend on military activities in the north, and we will continue to deal with the security situation there. We cannot afford for northern Israel to become an active terror area." 

"What we call terrorist organizations is not someone hiding with a Kalashnikov who gets up in the morning to attack a target. These are para-military organizations that work within loose military constraints," Gantz explained. 

"Islamic State has control over a large area, with an accumulation of weapons capabilities that it will learn to use. Hezbollah's rocket arsenal is larger than that of any country in the world. What we saw in Operation Protective Edge doesn't compare to the strength we may see in other conflicts." 

"There are no suckers in this area. Everyone is planning, everyone is thinking, everyone is preparing a response." 

Gantz noted that besides the conventional threats of war, cyber warfare is also an increasing problem, and called for IDF departments to become more developed against this threat.

The Chief of Staff, who is soon to step down, stressed that IDF attacks must be as accurate as possible. 

"Our enemies are entering a more urban environment, and we must make every effort to be precise. We do it out of two considerations – moral and legal. We are found most of the time in a greater constraint, because along with the risk posed to our soldiers, civilians are also under fire." 

"I am proud that moral considerations are part of our values," Gantz stressed.


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