JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli soldiers must be willing to risk their lives for their country, Ehud Barak said.
His comments Wednesday came after he was criticized for saying the previous day that the government was doing everything it could to bring home captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, but "not at any price."
Barak also said Tuesday at a high school in the Negev that the students should "stop whining" when asked if Israel could ensure the safety of its soldiers.
"The time has come to say bluntly: Combat troops and soldiers arrive with the knowledge that the task of fulfilling their missions entails a willingness to risk their lives and that the fighters have that willingness to undertake the mission," Barak said Wednesday during a ceremony at the Tel Nof army base.
"Leaders and commanders have a moral responsibility, no matter how hard you try to sugar-coat the basic truth: We are a nation of fighters, our ability is everlasting, and this ability will be proven. In the Middle East there is no mercy for the weak, and there will not be a second chance for someone who doesn’t know how to defend himself."