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"Quietest 2 Years in Hebron" - IDF Commander Passes Torch

"It is impossible to describe what sense of pride I feel at the end of my service," said Col. Itzik Cohen

12.8.18, 09:13
A special ceremony was held at the foot of the Tomb of Machpela in Hebron for the installment of the new commander of the Judea Brigade.
 
Congratulations to IDF Col. Itzik Cohen. Under his command, the last two years were among the quietest in the history of the Judea region. His innovative ideas have made Hebron safer for both Jews, Arabs and tourist alike.
 
Col. Itzik Cohen has now been appointed commander of the elite Givati ​​Brigade.
 
We welcome the new commander of the Judea Brigade, Col. Itamar Ben Haim and wish success to Col. Cohen on his new position.
 
A strong sense of law-and-order in Hebron is essential for calm in the region and the entire country. Studies show that Hebron has been a hotbed of extremism in the past and only the combination of the Israel Defense Force and a normalized civilian community allows the hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to this ancient and inspirational city.
 
An Israeli interview dated in a May 24, 2018 article praises Col. Cohen stating:
 
"About two years ago, when Col. Cohen took office, Hebron was the West Bank's capital of terror... Ninety-seven Palestinian would-be stabbers have been arrested in Hebron since January 2017, Col. Cohen says, without being shot. One of the reasons is a new operational perception formed by the brigade commander: Removing the outdated and dangerous barriers—which are usually comprised of a table, a manual metal detector and a container with no air conditioning—and building crossings further away from the Jewish community, deep in the Palestinian neighborhoods. Three outdated barriers were cancelled or replaced with seven new, quick and safe crossings, reinforced with concrete. The bottlenecks and the friction have been reduced to a minimum. In the Jewish community in Hebron, fighters hardly patrol the streets anymore. They are deployed in overt or covert activity in the Palestinian territory, in control posts, on rooftops or in newly established posts. 'We work on accuracy and differentiation here,' Col. Cohen notes, pointing at the only remnant—the famous Gilbert Checkpoint, which has seen dozens of terror attacks, including the Azaria incident—a faded red line on the road. In any given moment, there are three-four quadcopters and a drone above our heads in the sky, so if a force detects a suspicious movement in the Abu Sneinah neighborhood, a quadcopter is immediately diverted in its direction. As a result, 25 percent of Palestinian would-be stabbers have been apprehended in their neighborhoods, before entering the Jewish community. The Palestinians feel better and safer when we operate in their territory. There is a need to continue the investment in infrastrctures here, to move from a fabric of life to quality of life.' As we drive around with Col. Cohen in Hebron, we are stopped by an elderly Palestinian... the brigade commander wishes him a happy holiday, as well as to another elderly Palestinian leaving the Cave of the Patriarchs after the prayer."

From the words of Colonel Itzik Cohen at the ceremony:
 
"Here in this place where the graves of the parents of the Jewish people are marked.
Here in this place which symbolizes, perhaps more than anything else, the struggle of the people to live in their homeland.
Here in this place, in front of the walls that shed tears for every victim and know joy in the marriage of a bride and groom.
Here near the Seventh Step, and step away from the Jewish Quarter.
Here seven years ago I served as a battalion commander deploying his troops on alert week after week.
Here I saw the eyes of the tearful parents of the late Hallel Yaffa Ariel, and the brigade that was the first to recognize that Rabbi Michael "Micky" Mark had been killed on the road not far from brigade headquarters. 
Here I stand proud today, excited and grateful for every moment of privilege to command this special brigade. It is impossible to describe what sense of satisfaction and pride I feel at the end of my service.
 
Those who did not breathe the air on Friday night, heard the shots from the neighborhoods of Jabel Johar and Abu Sneineh, traveled daily among the tombstones commemorating heroes, went back and forth from Ma'ayan Avraham to Beit Hadassah... anyone who has not felt this responsibility will never understand it. 
 
I have a great right to be a partner in processes, processes that require vision, and then step by step to achieve them - as if kicking a ball and running to kick it again for another distance. 
 
The right to combine offensive activity at night, preventative activities - the prevention of terrorist funds, the confiscation of incitement and propaganda, the closing of radio stations that spew hate speech, the demolition of terrorists' homes and the establishment of an early warning defense system.
 
There is no second to the City of the Patriarchs with the sensitivity and exuberance surrounding it, the microcosm of Israeli society, with its colors and opinions... there is no possibility of preserving this lifestyle without collaboration between the security forces and the police, who are responsible for seeing the fate and future of children of all peoples living together in security and peace. 
 
My replacement, the commander of the incoming brigade, Colonel Itamar Ben Haim, is well acquainted with the sector as a battalion commander and an officer in Judea and Samaria. I have no doubt that the sector has received one of the best IDF officers. And I am certain that with his intelligence and sensitivity, he could lead the division to new heights.
I thank my dear family who supported me all along, and I am grateful to all my partners - thank you for your trust, thank you for your partnership and support along the way, and especially for the belief in me in this complex task. 
"There is courage for His people, and God will give His people peace."
 
Welcome and great success to the commander of the incoming Judea Brigade, Col. Itamar Ben Haim, 
Your success is the success of the entire nation of Israel.
 
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