Great men say great things. Here’s a collection of quotes by the leaders of the IDF — its Chiefs of Staff — over the years.
“A man talking fast has something to hide.”
Lt. Gen. (res.) Haim Bar-Lev served as Chief of Staff between 1968-1972, and inventor of the Bar-Lev Line. He later became a Knesset member and was appointed ambassador in Russia, until his death in 1994.
“If you can’t get up for an old woman on the bus, you can’t be an officer in the IDF.”
Lt. Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya’alon served as Chief of Staff between 2001-2005, where he commanded, among other things, over Operation Defensive Shield. Originally he served in the Nachal Infantry Brigade. He’s currently the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs.
“Until the wolf shall lay with lamb, we’d better be the wolves.”
Lt. Gen. (res) Ehud Barak served as Chief of Staff between 1991-1995. Originally enlisted to the elite commando Sayeret Matkal, where he participated in Operation Spring of Youth. Was Prime Minister of Israel between 1999-2001, and is currently the Minister of Defense.
“We’ll fight terror like there’s no peace, and make peace like there’s no terror.”
Lt. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Rabin served as Chief of Staff between 1964-1968, commanding, among other things, over the Six-Day War. He went on to become Prime Minister and win the Nobel Peace Prize for the Oslo Accords, until his assassination in 1995.
“As a people, our monuments never commemorate victories. They commemorate the names of the fallen. We don’t need the Arc de Triomphe; we have Masada, Tel-Hai, and the Warsaw Ghetto – where the battle was lost, but the war of Jewish existence was won.”
Lt. Gen. (res.) David “Dado” Elazar served as Chief of Staff between 1972–1974, commanding over, among other things, over the Yom Kippur War, after serving as a military man all his life. He died of a heart attack in 1974.
“You’re not the one having a hard time in the battlefield. The enemy’s also having a hard time—the only question is who breaks down first.”
Lt. Gen. (res.) Rafael Eitan served as Chief of Staff between 1978-1983, commanding, among other things, over Operation Peace for Galilee He went on to become a Knesset member until his death in a drowning accident in 2004.
“The way I see it, if you can’t prepare your men for battle, you’re not fit to lead them into one.”
Lt. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi served as Chief of Staff between 2007-2011, commanding over, among other things, Operation Cast Lead. Following his retirement from military service in 2011, he is currently touring the world with his family.