Gabi Ashkenazi takes over as IDF chief in J’lem ceremony

The handover ceremony took place at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, and was attended by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplinsky, former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, as well as lawmakers and public figures.

Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi took over as the new Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Wednesday morning, replacing Dan Halutz.

Halutz resigned in January following widespread criticism of his handling of the second Lebanon war last summer.
Speaking at the ceremony Wednesday, Halutz said that his one regret was that he had not managed to secure the release of the three captured IDF soldiers – Gilad Shalit who has been held by Palestinian militants in Gaza since June, and Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose July 12 abduction by Hezbollah sparked the summer war.
Halutz admitted that during the second Lebanon war, „along with successes in the fighting mistakes were made, on my part as well.”
Ashkenazi, speaking after Halutz, said that the army was „prepared to implement the lessons of the war,” and paid tribute to Halutz.
At a farewell ceremony held Tuesday by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Halutz ignited a media firestorm when he used the lingo of fighter pilot to describe the criticism directed at him since the Lebanon war.
„The hardest situation for a pilot is when your number-two shoots you in the back,” Halutz said.
The remark unleashed a torrent of reactions and interpretations, forcing the IDF Spokesman’s Office to issue a clarification specifying that Halutz’ comments were not directed at anyone in particular.