Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi took over as the new Israeli chief of staff Wednesday morning, replacing Dan Halutz. According to Haaretz, Ashkenazi said during the handover ceremony that the Israeli army is ready to implement the lessons of the recent Lebanon war.
Halutz was forced to quit following widespread criticism of his handling of the Lebanon war last summer. Ashkenazi said the army must now turn its attention to improving itself, saying Israeli soldiers in Lebanon proved their "valor and devotion to the mission," and that these values must be preserved along with the necessary improvements.
Speaking at the ceremony Wednesday, Halutz said that his one regret was that he had not managed to secure the release of the three captured Israeli soldiers - Gilad Shalit who has been held by Palestinians in Gaza since June, and Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose July 12 abduction by Hizbullah sparked the summer war.