The prisoner exchange negotiations between Israel and Hamas have been stalled for a while now, but on Sunday IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi revealed that the army was working to release captive soldier Gilad Shalit, though he preferred to keep the details of these efforts confidential.
Speaking to students at the Israel Arts and Science Academy in Jerusalem, Ashkenazi said, “Whatever we do won’t be enough as long as Gilad return home safe and sound, because we sent him on the mission.
“I can tell you that there are things the army is doing but not discussing in public. We are risking lives to bring Gilad home. We will not rest until he reunites with his family.
The chief of staff once again addressed his hopes to bring equality to the obligatory national service and said that in the past few years over 90% of the military professions opened their doors to women. And yet, when asked by a student why women’s obligatory service is shorter them men’s he answered: “The IDF is no longer about gender, it’s about ability”. He suggested that the motivated student enlist in one of the infantry units.
In addition, Ashkenazi addressed the connection between the IDF and Jerusalem. “It’s not just another city. The IDF sees itself as one of the liberators of Jerusalem, which is why it is so important that each and every soldier should visit the city at least once,” he said.
“Meeting with the nation’s youth is unbelievably important because we come from the people and we return to the people. That is what a people’s army means.”