By COLlive reporter
Photos by Gadi Tzach, Avi Ohayon & Meir Alfasi
Shortly after being sworn-in as the 21st chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, General Gadi Eisenkot went to the Kotel in Jerusalem to pray for his and the country’s success.
“We are in the midst of a stressful period with many challenges,” Eisenkot commented on Monday. “The Middle East is changing its face beyond recognition and is characterized by explosiveness and insecurity.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon swore in the 54-year-old Eisenkot who is married with 5 children and led the General Staff Operations Directorate during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
He replaces Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, who completed his IDF duty after 37 years of military service, at a ceremony held at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, Ynetnews reported.
Hundreds of people, Israeli and foreigners, warmly welcomed the IDF heads as they arrived at the last remaining remnant of the Beis Hamikdash. A few Bar Mitzvah celebrations were being held there at the time of the visit.
Gantz and Eisenkot were escorted by the Kotel’s Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Chief Rabbi of the IDF Rafi Perez, and Rabbi Menachem Ofen, a Chabad activist with the IDF.
Together, they read chapters of Tehillim, prayed for the safety and security of the soldiers and Israel’s residents and then placed a handwritten note between the stones.
“I pledge to command the Israel Defense Forces with determination and wisdom, with reverence and utmost commitment to the security of the nation and to the peace of its citizens and residents,” he said.