Gantz: ‘Iran creating Middle East arms race’

“The entire Middle East is on the verge of an eminent arms race if Iran continues to advance towards nuclear capabilities,” Gantz said.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Outgoing President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Benny honored Israel’s top security and intelligence developers, awarding the 2021 Israel Defense Prize to four classified projects on Monday.

Details of the projects were not released for security reasons, but the Israeli Air Force, the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development Division, semi-governmental defense contractors Rafael and the Israel Aerospace Industries, the Shin Bet, and the Mossad were among the bodies singled out for praise.

Although the prize is typically awarded to three innovative projects, this year saw an unprecedented four projects recognized for their importance.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Gantz spoke about the Iranian nuclear threat and Israel’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip during May 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls.

“The entire Middle East is on the verge of an eminent arms race, if Iran continues to advance towards nuclear capabilities,” Gantz said.

“Our eyes are open to all these threats, our defense systems, most of which were developed in Israel, are at the ready, and our intelligence is working overtime to locate targets and identify intentions

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After presenting awards for the classified initiatives, including a special acknowledgement to the elite 8200 cyber unit, Gantz said that the projects had helped mitigate civilian deaths during Israel’s recent clash with Gaza.

“We saw the advantages [of the projects] during Operation Guardian of the Walls, with accurate strikes, unparalleled intelligence and operations which resulted in minimal damage to bystanders when considering the extent of the aerial operations, and precise strikes against terrorists that were effective and strong,” he said.

Rivlin noted that while the technology was impressive, it could not have been developed without a talented and diligent team of people.

“The person behind the system is the foundation and is the most important thing, without which the most high tech developments wouldn’t be able to defend us,” he said.

“The person behind the machine and their spirit, the spirit of dedication and belief in the righteousness of their path, these are what make the difference and they are what make you…the best among us.”