"Lately we have been experiencing major changes around us, which thicken the fog in the Middle East's skies. Our duty is to keep the State of Israel strong and ready, and guarantee that we won't get caught unprepared once more," outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told graduates of the army's Command and Staff course Thursday.
Earlier, Ashkenazi said during a farewell ceremony held in his honor by a group of military correspondents that the last days of his term as army chief have been dedicated to security issues and assisting Major-General Benny Gantz, who is expected to replace him "barring any last minute changes."
Gantz is scheduled to officially take over as army chief next Monday. "I wish him luck, and I regret the recent events," said Ashkenazi, referring to the controversy which surrounded the appointment of General Yoav Galant as chief of staff, which was eventually cancelled after it was discovered he had seized public land.
"I believe the army is stronger than all of these processes and is focused on the task at hand. As a citizen, I know I am leaving the army in the hands of a professional," Ashkenazi said during the ceremony.
Hanan Greenberg and Aviel Magnezi contributed to the report
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