Israeli Army Chief, Defense Minister Fail to Attend Anniversary Ceremony of 2014 Gaza War

Benjamin Netanyahu and Reuven Rivlin, however, attend ceremony, at which Netanyahu spoke of Israel's commitment to bring back bodies of soldiers being held in Gaza

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, May 31, 2016.
Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot did not attend the memorial service for the third anniversary of the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict held on Thursday. President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however attended the event.

Netanyahu spoke of Israel's commitment to bring back the bodies of the soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin from Gaza at the ceremony.

"We won't drop this mission until it is successfully accomplished. We're not stopping to work at this sacred mission. This also goes for Avera Manegisto and Hisham Asayed, Israeli citizens who are being held in the Gaza Strip by a brutal enemy," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also spoke about the situation with Gaza and said the chief of staff says such calm hasn't been experienced in the region since the Six-Day War.

"We won't accept any breach of our sovereignty, in the south, the north or any place. Quiet will be answered with quiet, but anyone who raises a hand against us will encounter a firm and powerful response. Our enemies know this, our enemies in the Gaza Strip know it twice as well," he said.

According to protocol, the chief of staff and defense minister must attend state ceremonies marking a decade. Haaretz found that the chief of staff is invited to more than 150 official events.

The defense minsiter's office said that a Defense Ministry and IDF committee recommended the defense minister attend each ceremony once in ten years. 

Eisenkot attended last year's ceremony, at which one of the bereaved fathers burst out at Netanyahu. Southern Command chief Eyal Zamir, Brig Gen. Moti Almoz and the government's coordinator in the territories Yoav Mordechai attended the ceremony