Speaking at a ceremony in honor of the Palmach’s contribution to the protection of Israel, Kochavi elaborated on the threats Israel faces today and the IDF’s preparedness level.
"The Syrian army, in cooperation with the Iranians, are re-establishing themselves today along our borders. Lebanon is controlled by Hezbollah, which does not hesitate to fire missiles and rockets at our country’s citizens. The state's borders, as well as Jerusalem— our capital for which we fought, are fortified and protected,” Kochavi exclaimed.
“However, from the southern to the northern border, as well as in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian terror is restless because the Jewish state keeps thriving and developing,” Kochavi declared.
Kochavi stressed that the security forces are constantly upgrading their capabilities in light of growing threats from Israel’s enemies.
"The IDF is prepared for every scenario. We are improving our fighting methods, filling the emergency warehouses, practicing and cultivating the value of determination we have learned from the Palmach," he concluded.
Kochavi spoke about his exposure to the Palmach: "The spirit of the Palmach was introduced into my veins from an early age, apparently thanks to my uncle and father who wished to cultivate the legacy of the Palmach in an open as well as covert way. It is not easy to stand here across from you but it is a great privilege that I am happy to have.
"You quickly became the pillar of fire in front of the camp, which developed and created operational norms and radiated an uncompromising determination. The means were limited, but the spirit was powerful and pushed you against all odds. The land belongs first of all to the Palmach fighters who have become role models and to whom we owe the state,” Kochavi continued.
"The current generation is on guard," added Kochavi. "With this spirit they slipped into every cellar during Operation Defensive Shield in order to uproot Palestinian terror, infiltrated nature reserves during the Second Lebanon War and destroyed rockets—and insisted on penetrating the tunnels and destroying them during Operation Protective Edge.
The ceremony, held at the Culture Palace ("Heichal Hatarbut"), was also attended by President Reuven Rivlin and honored those who fought in the Palmach—the elite fighting force of the Haganah.
At the beginning of the conference, Tova Ofer, a Palmach veteran, raised the Israeli flag as a symbol of heroism and courage accompanied by her family.
President Reuven Rivlin sent a recorded message to the veterans: "It is enough to look at the list of chiefs of staff, six of whom began as Palmach fighters, and the many generals who served in the Palmach who serve as testimony to professionalism and excellence." The General Staff during the Six-Day War, headed by Yitzhak Rabin, was also composed mostly of veterans of the organization.
“We will remember all of them. I wish to thank the Palmach fighters for their contribution that will forever be etched in the history of our people and I wish you a happy new year, a year of peace, friendship and security for all,” Rivlin said.