IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi made the remark at a special commendation ceremony honoring IDF, Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet), and Border Police units which excelled in counterterrorism activity as part of Operation Waves Breaker.
By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
The IDF Golani Reconnaissance and Border Police Special Operations Counter-Terror Yamam and Yamas were among the units to be awarded the Israeli military’s highest commendations for their activities in the ongoing campaign to root out terror activities.
In an address to officers and commanders, Lt. Gen. Kochavi cited the country’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, who said on the eve of Israel’s founding that, “A Jewish state was established, and its fate is in the hands of the security forces.”
“Without any exaggeration, ‘its fate is in the hands of the security forces.’ You are the security forces, you are its fate,” said the IDF Chief, going on to emphasize that this role “doesn’t have to be in an existential context of ‘if not then (Israel) would cease to exist,” but rather “the basic principle of ‘We defend the citizens of Israel, and we determine its fate along the borders, doesn’t matter whether it is a campaign in the north or in Gaza, and we of course determine (Israel’s fate) in Judea and Samaria for many years and in the past half-year in particular.”
In his own speech, IDF Central Command Commander Major General Yehuda Fuchs explain circumstances the led to the launching of the seven-month Operation Waves Breaker.
“A stone barrier in the middle of the street, a stone in the car’s windshield, a Molotov cocktail that has been hurled, gunfire at a school-bus, murder of citizens in Hebron, Ariel, Elad and terror in the center of the land,” he said, adding that the very name of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) “constitutes its job” and the “most important task” of “providing defense, security and a sense of security to the residents of Israel.”
Stressing that “This is what you have been doing with your units in recent months – day and night – to take both defensive and offensive actions to foil and prevent terror and providing security to the residents.”
Israel’s “war on terror,” which Gen. Fuchs described as “a most complex task,” he said, “We contend with an enemy that preaches incitement to hatred, cultivates schemes, tries relentlessly to harm civilians and soldiers, smuggles terrorists, weapons and substantive amounts of money, both outside and inside of Israel, for the purpose of realizing its schemes, operates with violence to sow terror and fear, creates in the depth of field chaos and even harms many Palestinians who want to live their lives in quiet and peace.”
The IDF Commander went on to laud the divisions for “the long hours at defensive positions and reconnaissance along the seamline or the desert, in ambushes and manhunts in the Jordan Valley, at defensive posts in Hebron and Benjamin (region), close-in units at the Jenin Refugee Camp and in the cold of the night in an ambush in Samaria – acting with dedication to thwart the enemy’s achievements and deter it from acting.”
And if terrorists dare to attempt to harm Israelis, the will be met with a “sharp and lethal” response by “experienced forces,” he stated.