"Syria is still bleeding, and in Lebanon the flames have started to creep up on Nasrallah," said IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz Thursday, at the graduation ceremony of the IAF's 166 flight course, adding that the Israeli Air Force is "the strategic arm of the IDF; it can make our enemies pay, anytime, anywhere.”
"All fronts – from south to north – are turbulent," Gantz noted. "In the face of a changing reality, we are required to be more prepared than ever." he said.
According to recent reports by security officials, over 200 Hezbollah operatives were killed in fighting rebels in Syria and Lebanon and thousands were injured.
Gantz: Nasrallah is burning (Photo: EPA)
'Prepared for any threat'
"The future of the Jewish people depends on the Jewish State, the future of which primarily bears on the IDF and security forces," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the graduates of the flight course.
The prime minister praised the graduates and said, "We want peace and hold out our hand, but will not close our eyes or be delusional. We closely monitor what is happening within our borders. We have defensive and offensive capabilities, and we are prepared to use them if forced to. Whoever needs to know that we don’t only talk but also follow through, knows it."
President Shimon Peres told the graduates, "You live in a volatile region, and the IDF and IAF have the ability to deal with threats. The reputation of the IDF is part of Israel's deterrence. We have new opportunities and challenges. I know you are ready to thwart dangers."
Air Force Commander Major General Amir Eshel also spoke at the ceremony, saying, "Reality has forced us into many operations over the past year. The Air Force was required to be prepared for every operation… we will know how to respond to threats that arise every day."
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon added, "The Israeli sky is covered with threats. Terror organizations are prepared to disturb the peace of residents of the south…. We have been following the events in Iran, where they elected a new president with old ambitions… threatening the West and the world."
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