IDF chief: Iranian threat looms above all regional threats

‘The IDF possesses great power in the State of Israel’s 70th year, with intelligence superiority in the region, absolute aerial superiority, cyber superiority, naval superiority, and a clear advantage to the IDF’s ground forces,’ said the Jewish state’s top general.

By: Yona Schnitzer/TPS

Israel faces threats on several fronts as it enters its 70th year, but the Iranian threat looms above all the others, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot said Tuesday at a conference on “The Army and Israeli Society” at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

Analyzing potential threats facing Israel in the coming year, Eizenkot pointed to five different fronts that he sees as Israel’s biggest security challenges: Lebanon, Syria, Judea and Samaria, Gaza and Sinai, but added that Iran has a hand in all those threats.

“Above those five fronts there is one big and prominent threat, which is the Iranian threat,” Eizenkot said. “It is a multi-tiered threat, with the first and central aspect being their striving to achieve nuclear capabilities. The second aspect is their aspiration for regional hegemony and influence and their desire to create a Shiite crescent that extends from Iran to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon [in the north], as well as Bahrain, Yemen and Gaza in the south.”

Despite myriad threats, Eizenkot said the balance of power between Israel and its enemies remains favorable to Israel, and that it is capable of dealing with those challenges both individually and collectively.

“The IDF possesses great power in the State of Israel’s 70th year, with intelligence superiority in the region, absolute aerial superiority, cyber superiority, naval superiority, and a clear advantage to the IDF’s ground forces,” Eizenkot said.

Referring to the situation in Gaza, Eizenkot criticized “irresponsible external statements” that have called for harsher IDF action against recent rocket fire from the Strip.

“I’m hearing statements calling for immediate retaliations using maximum force in response to the rockets being fired from Gaza, I don’t think that is the right thing to do at this moment,” Eizenkot said. “However, we cannot accept rockets being fired – not into open spaces, and definitely not into populated areas. We are applying force with a fluctuating intensity.”

Rogue terror organizations within Gaza are interested in escalating the situation in Gaza and dragging Israel into another round of conflict, Eizenkot said, before adding that while the IDF is ready for all options, it is in no hurry to fight another war.

“We are well prepared, but there is no need to rush. If it’s required of us, the IDF has the best tools to achieve our goals,” Eizenkot said.