"Even today we still face elements that seek to destroy us, those who hate us, Holocaust deniers and various leaders who openly call for our extermination," Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, said on Monday evening at the Holocaust memorial ceremony held at the Massuah Institute for the Study of the Holocaust.
Just hours after the widely denounced speech given by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN racism conference in Geneva, Ashkenazi said the IDF was "capable of striking the farthest enemy."
Having said this, the chief of staff added that "we insist on preserving the morals unique to the Jewish people since its inception through the way we fight and conduct ourselves. Those who spoke of the 'supreme race,' and sought to rob us of our humanity, should know that the Israeli people is alive, determined to face any challenge, ready to face even the most complex threats and defeat them," said Ashkenazi.
The Massuah ceremony focused on Holocaust survivors who eventually came to Israel and fought in the War of Independence. Six such survivors lit the traditional memorial beacons, each symbolizing one million who perished.
"It's difficult to explain the moral strength required of those warriors, who survived the Nazi hell and gathered their strength to come to Israel, to fight for it, and to rebuild their homes and lives here," he said.
"The sense of purpose of the Holocaust survivors who fought in 1948, their devotion, courage and determination – were the central foundations of the 'silver platter' we were given the Jewish state on."