The ceremony was attended and conducted by Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and other members of the IDF General Staff.
Norkin, who previously served as head of the Planning Directorate, replaced Eshel, who had served as head of the IAF for the past five years and will be discharged from the IDF after more than 40 years of service.
During Eshel's tenure, two major operations were conducted in the Gaza Strip—Operation Pillar of Defense and Operation Protective Edge—along with hundreds of sorties and covert operations beyond Israel's borders, including strikes against Hamas and Hezbollah.
In his comments, Norkin said, "I am aware of the scope of the challenge and I am excited by the situation. The Air Force of the coming years will add many capabilities and expand its responsibilities. The Air Force of the coming years will be a force that cooperates more with ground forces—both in building force and using force. The IAF is a force of quality and dedicated people who are proud of their contribution to the security of Israel."
Minister of Defense Lieberman praised Eshel for his service, saying, "Amir, thank you for 40 years of significant contributions to the security of the State of Israel. Your term as IAF commander was extremely significant and fruitful during a complicated period."
Lieberman also addressed Norkin, saying, "You take up your position and immediately have many challenges to deal with. You will have to expand the already long reach of the service."
Eshel summarized his tenure, saying, "In our hands we have unprecedented and far-reaching capabilities and are the basis for the changing security strategy of the State of Israel. Our achievements are due to my predecessors who succeeded in building the strength and personnel of the IAF. It is a professional, dedicated and modest group, like no other. Amikam, we know each other very well. I trust you and I know you'll succeed. Of that, I have no doubt."