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Netanyahu tells recruits ‘we have no country without an army’

The prime minister's visit to the induction ceremony comes amid soldiers refusing to serve over judicial reforms.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to IDF recruits at Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan, March 21, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to IDF recruits at Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan, March 21, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited an Israel Defense Forces induction base on Tuesday.

The trip to the Tel Hashomer Base in Ramat Gan, outside Tel Aviv, comes amid the phenomenon of soldiers refusing to serve over the government’s judicial reform program. Hundreds of reservists in elite units announced on Sunday that they would not be reporting for duty.

“Today, you are, in effect, becoming soldiers. We have no country without an army. We have no country without soldiers who are recruited for service. You are being recruited to defend our heritage,” Netanyahu said during the induction ceremony of recruits for the Golani infantry brigade and for other combat soldiers who will be posted at borders and crossings.

Netanyahu and Gallant handed the young soldiers military equipment and IDF uniforms, and took questions from the recruits.

“You need to be proud of yourselves and go to basic training with your heads held high,” said Gallant.

“You must remember a central thing: Today you are becoming part of the defense force of the people of Israel and the State of Israel. With every passing day you will take an additional step towards the goal, and together with those who will become your platoon, company and lifelong friends, you will overcome the difficulties and meet the challenges,” the defense minister continued.

Other senior officials at the ceremony included National Security Director Tzachi Hanegbi, the prime minister’s Chief of Staff Tzachi Braverman and Military Secretary Maj. Gen. Avi Gil, IDF Planning Directorate head Maj. Gen. Yaakov Banjo, IDF Manpower Directorate head Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor and the commander of the recruitment center, Col. Alon Matzliach.

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