President Reuven Rivlin toured the northern border on Wednesday, where he observed IDF against Hezbollah.
The president arrived at the "Gibor" camp in the Hiram Division's base, near Kiryat Shmona, where he was briefed on the sector by the regional IDF commanders, led by Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Yair Golan, commander of Northern Command Major General Aviv Kohavi and division commander Brigadier General Moni Katz, the situation in the operational area.
Rivlin discussed with commanders the current challenges the IDF faces – Hezbollah on the Lebanese border, Syria, and various aspects of defense overall.
He then continued to tour at Misgav Am, where he was given the possibility to look far into Lebanon and view the operational reality as it is expressed in action – as part of an exercise that simulated the deployment of defense forces on the ground in case of an attack by Hezbollah terror militias.
After visiting the observation point, the president arrived at Motzav Lilach, where he met with Armored Corps. and Golani soldiers and their commanders.
"I saw on the ground the challenges we face and I know the weight of responsibility rests on your shoulders," Rivlin said. "I came here to say thank you for doing impressive work, which fills me with pride, day and night."
During his visit, the President spoke with the media and referred to the rocket from Gaza which struck southern Israel on Tuesday.
"We will continue to respond promptly and forcefully and firmly against any attempt to breach the peace in the south," Rivlin warned. "It is important to remember that as long as Hamas controls Gaza, and its citizens will continue to suffer the consequences of any such breach of peace."
Rivlin then said that Gaza's reconstruction is in Israel's interest.
"The rehabilitation of Gaza is in our interest and good to have some sort of initiative that we are ready to borrow, to solve the problem of the people of Gaza," Rivlin said. "This is an initiative that should be an international understanding – that Gaza Reconstruction requires the cessation of all hostility towards Israel."
"I call on all nations of the world, the United States and the Europeans, to come and see how we create a situation of an initiative will improve the life and conditions of the residents of Gaza," he continued. "Such an initiative should come and take into account the conditions of the exclusive and irreconcilable is that Gaza does not serve as a front end to attack Israel at any moment."
Answering the question of whether he believes in conducting dialogue with Hamas, the President replied, "it really does not matter to me who I'm talking about, it is important to me what I am talking about."
"I have no hesitation to conduct negotiations with anyone willing to go to negotiations," he said, but clarified that he would not deal with someone who insists Israel has no right to exist.
"We must understand that Israel's ability to meet its security needs in the north and south […] depends on whether IDF can support its operations [financially]," he added. "The situation in which we have been in for a few years, without a multiyear budget plan for the IDF and the fact that the Knesset and the government has not yet reached the formulation of the budget, is not possible anymore."
"You can come and say things here and there but without that support for the economic system […] we cannot meet our mission," he concluded.