Bon Voyage Ashkenazi
Departing IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi goes on vacation to the US
Israel says goodbye to Ashkenazi: Just like every other soldier amongst the ranks of the Israeli army, the retired Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defence Forces, Gabi Ashkenazi has gone on a post military-service release trip. Ashkenazi accompanied by his wife Ronit, boarded an El-Al plane yesterday heading out to the United States for a weeks-long vacation.
It was the first flight as an ordinary citizen, for the 19th Chief of Staff of the IDF. As for the trip’s destination, it's believed that Ashkenazi choose the United States due to the time he spent over there as part of his position (while discussing the Iranian nuclear threat with US officials) and possibly because of the close relations he formed with Michael Mullen, his American counterpart and other officials.
Prior to the trip, Ashkenazi celebrated his 57th birthday on Saturday night with his closest friends and family. The party was held in a new mall, located in the heart of Tel Aviv, not far away from Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak’s residence. However, Barak was not invited due to the media-covered tension between the two.
Amongst the celebrators were Ashkenazi’s brother, Brigadier General Avi, as well as former IDF Chief, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, the retired head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate (AMAN), Amos Yadlin, the current IDF Spokesperson Avi Benayahu and others.
In the party, Ashkenazi’s mother, Frida gave a touching speech, blessing him and his spouse who stayed by his side for 30 not so easy years of service. Ashkenazi found the time to joke around, telling the guests about his first acquaintance with Ronit’s parents and the “taste test” he had to endure.
“They gave me to eat something weird,” he recalled. “Turns out it was calf's foot jelly [also knows as P'tcha]. It was then I realised that I am better off eating sand in Golani than that thing,” he explained the real reason behind his long service. Finally, Ashkenazi stressed that just like any freshly-released soldier, he wants a “vacation and nothing else”.