The defense establishment bid farewell to outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday in a ceremony held at Bar Ilan University.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the ceremony, as did IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo, Israel Security Agency Chief Yoram Cohen and the senior officers of the General Staff.
"This coming year will be crucial for Israel's defense and security," Netanyahu said. "In the coming years, we'll have to deal with the growing amounts of lethal weapons that are being accumulated in our region, from the nuclear threat to sophisticated missiles that threaten the entire State of Israel.
"I don't underestimate the threats – nor do I underestimate our ability to meet them," he said.
Netanyahu noted that he has known Ehud Barak since their days as officers in the Israel Defense Forces – "back when the political masks one wears were unnecessary" – and that Barak "possesses the qualities necessary for a leader who will be remembered for generations to come as one who has worked tirelessly for Israel's security.
"Ehud, I have no idea what you're planning to do next, but the State of Israel can't do without you," Netanyahu said.