A total of 120 outstanding soldiers received honarary citations in the annual Independence Day ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The ceremony was attended by President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.
Netanyahu, Peres, Barak and Gantz take to singing (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The IDF held a special flyover of combat jets and helicopters to open the ceremony.
Addressing the soldiers, the president said that they carry the torch of Israel's future.
Netanyahu with the soldiers (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"We have proven that a flourishing garden can be created on uncooperative land. I am confident that the entire region will learn there is no future for terror, no value in dictatorship and there is a real need for liberty," he added.
IDF chief Gantz also congratulated the soldiers and said, "On this day we hold the bereaved families and remember those who cannot be here with us. We also pray for the return of our captive soldiers, including Gilad Shalit. "
Netanyahu recalled an old military operation and jokingly noted, "Ehud had made the right decision for a change," referring to the defense minister.
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