Iran would be nuclear power like N. Korea, if not for Israel – former IDF general

Former IDF chief-of-staff Gadi Eisenkot says growing divisions in Israeli society pose a risk to national security.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Former IDF chief of staff General Gadi Eisenkot said that Israel’s efforts to thwart Iran’s rogue nuclear development program, taking place over nearly two decades, has prevented the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear power at the level of North Korea.

“If not for these Israeli operations…Iran would have already been a nuclear power 17 years ago” Eisenkot said while speaking at the annual Meir Dagan security conference at Netanya Academic College on Wednesday.

“Imagine if Iran was like North Korea in the Middle East,” he said.

In the past, Israel has generally shied away from acknowledging responsibility for operations that sabotaged Iranian nuclear development, including the assassination of the program’s lead scientist and a massive explosion at the Natanz nuclear site.

Eisenkot’s comments were unusual, as they appeared to be a direct confirmation of Israel’s involvement in those acts.

The last three years saw major global events that affected Israel’s national security, including the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he said.

Eisenkot predicted that the Russia-Ukraine war “will be keeping Europe busy for the next few years and signifies a change in the world order.” Its “impact on the economy and global trade” will have long-lasting impacts, he said.

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“External challenges, like the Iranian threat, both its nuclear and regional hegemony, which is no longer theoretical,” are the great challenges facing the Jewish State, but there are also internal issues that weaken Israel’s national security, he continued.

Growing divisions within Israel are a matter of national security, as “unity and the ability to stand together in the face of great challenges” is being made more difficult.

“Faith, or lack of faith, in governmental institutions, and.. incitement against the head of security agencies” are also major concerns, he said.

Eisenkot touched on the ongoing plunge in recruitment rates to the IDF.

“We should be very worried that today only 48 percent of 18-year-old Israeli boys and girls serve in the army,” he said.

He clarified that the statistic includes Arabs and ultra-Orthodox youth, who receive automatic draft exemptions.

When speaking about enlistment rates for the others, he said that only “67 percent end up drafting,” a drop from “around 88 percent.”