MKs Pay Tribute to Departing IDF Chief Ashkenazi: 'You Strengthened the Army'

Lawmakers and ministers from across the political spectrum praise Ashkenazi for his decades of service, honesty and morality.

The Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee bid farewell on Monday to outgoing Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

Knesset members from both the coalition and the opposition thanked Ashkenazi and complimented him on his years of service. MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), chairman of the committee and a former chief of staff saluted Ashkenazi and told him he strengthened the Israel Defense Forces.

"Today, the IDF is strong and gives Israel the freedom to make decisions," Mofaz said.

Opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni praised Ashkenazi, remembering her days as foreign minister she said the government was "blessed" with Ashkenazi as chief of staff, lauding his honesty and morality.

Former MK Tzachi Hanegbi, who was the chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense committee during most of Ashkenzi's term said that the IDF was still capable of handling any threat.

Gabi Ashkenazi - Olivier Fitoussi
Olivier Fitoussi

"The Israeli public is distressed by the recent upheaval taking over capital after capital in the Middle East, but it is important that they know that nothing has changed with regards to ability in the ranks of defense," Hanegbi said.

"Everyone undergoes revolutions in life, one thing I would never have believed, is that I would be saluting a Golani man," Henegbi laughed.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin lauded Ashkenazi for his service saying he was an "accomplished soldier and officer, and I am certain that he will continue to serve the people of Israel as he has done until now."

"Gabi is a young man, and I am sure that if he wants, he will sit on the benches of this chamber, just as many have done before him. The only question is when," Rivlin added.

Rivlin also spoke about the law which ascribes a three-year "cooling period" between the time an IDF officer above the rank of Major General leaves his military post and his possible transition into politics.

"A law must not be made to fit a man, for better or worse," Rivlin said, stating that the designated time period should not be shortened.

MK Amir Peretz (Labor), who appointed Ashkenazi the IDF chief during his term as Defense Minister under former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, praised Ashkenazi for seeing both the micro problems as well as the macro, and said "Israel owes you its gratitude."