New air force chief underlines role in countering threats
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New air force chief underlines role in countering threats

Amir Eshel says the air force is ‘sharp and lethal, near and far’

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Amir Eshel (left) with Benny Gantz (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Amir Eshel (left) with Benny Gantz (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

“There is no room for the weak in the Middle East,” newly appointed air force commander Amir Eshel said as he officially received his new command post on Monday.

There is no value in being trigger-happy, but if needed, “the air force will be sharp and lethal, near and far” Eshel told those present at a ceremony at the air force base in Hatzor. “We live in uncertainty,” he said, “no one knows what will happen in the region.”

At the event, outgoing air force chief Ido Nehushtan handed the command over to Eshel. Leaving a home after 37 years isn’t easy, Nehushtan said, adding that he had commanded the air force during “four challenging years.” The air force is trained and ready, he assured his successor.

Chief of General Staff Lt.Gen. Benny Gantz thanked Nehushtan for his service, saying that many of the operations carried out over the past few years were daring and creative, but may never be revealed to the public.

Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel was appointed commander of the Israel Air Force on Thursday in a ceremony in Tel Aviv’s Rabin (Hakirya) Base. Gantz, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and members of the General Staff and their families attended the ceremony.

Growing tensions over a possible Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program have put the IAF in the spotlight, with numerous reports about how Israeli jets would perform the mission.

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