Iran at the top of the agenda, as Israel’s security cabinet meets for first time in two months

“The Iranians are on the doorstep,” minister Yuval Steinitz told public radio.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s security cabinet was to be convening for the first time in two months on Sunday afternoon to discuss current security threats, both from near and afar, but especially from Iran.

In an interview on Israeli Kan public radio on Sunday morning, one of the security cabinet’s members, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, said that “the Iranians are on the doorstep.”

He cited the “violence they’re demonstrating in the Persian Gulf,” mentioning specifically an American drone shot down in June, the attacks on British shipping in the Gulf, and recent drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil installations.

“They threaten Israel daily,” Steinitz added.

The minister also warned of a scenario in which Iran would be allowed to reach some sort of new agreement with Western powers, which, he said, would also pose a threat to Israel and would require a state of readiness.

The minister’s comments were made as efforts were continuing toward establishing a broad-based national unity government in the aftermath of the September 17 parliamentary election.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, given the nod on September 25 by President Reuven Rivlin to try to form a governing majority, has cited the need for a stable government coalition to deal with various pressing security issues facing Israel.

As a long-time loyalist to Benjamin Netanyahu, Steinitz insisted that only the current leader of the Likud should share the prime minister’s seat with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz in such a government.

Last Saturday, the Iranian news agency Tasnim interviewed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ deputy commander of operations, who warned Israel against making the “strategic mistake” of attacking the Islamic Republic.

“Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides. Nothing will be left of Israel,” he threatened, according to the news agency.

The bellicose language follows the Israeli strikes in Syria in August against the Iranian Quds Force, which Netanyahu said was preparing to attack Israel with explosive drones, and the Israeli premier’s more recent revelations of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons development site.

Israel has admitted to carrying out dozens of airstrikes against Iranian forces and sites in Syria over recent years, in its stated determination not to allow the Islamic regime to establish a firm foothold across Israel’s northern border. The Israel Air Force has also struck Lebanese sites where Iran is said to be trying to turn Hizbollah’s rockets into precision-guided missiles.