The Netanyahu government worries that Iran will attack Israel through its proxies as part of its dispute with the U.S.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Israel fears that simmering tensions between the U.S. and Iran will boil over into its neighborhood, reports say, pointing to the unusual circumstance of two Security Cabinet meetings being held the same week.
Israel’s Security Cabinet met again on Wednesday. Although its members were tight-lipped about the meeting, it is generally assumed in the media that Iran and recent events in the Gulf region were the topic of discussion.
“In recent weeks, the estimation is that Tehran will try to increase tensions against the U.S. still more by means of an attack on Israel,” Israel Hayom reports on Thursday. Iran most recently says it shot down a U.S. Navy drone, a fact yet to be confirmed by the U.S. military. Strong evidence does show Iran is to blame for sabotaging a number of oil tankers, possibly in a bid to spike oil prices.
The scenario Israel fears is that Iran will order its proxies – Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip – to attack Israel as a means to pressure the U.S.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a message that may have been meant for Iran, though without mentioning it by name said, “I hear our neighbors from the north, south and east threatening our destruction. I say to our enemies: The IDF has very great destructive power. Don’t test us.”
Netanyahu was attending a large, multi-front IDF exercise involving its land, sea and air branches that took place this week and ended on Wednesday. Included in the exercise for the first time were Israel’s F-35 fighter jets.
On Tuesday, President Reuven Rivlin also hinted at Israel’s concerns regarding Iran when he said at a Tel Aviv event, “We caution Hezbollah not to subordinate Lebanon to Iran’s agenda, and we caution Lebanon not to be used as a launching pad for attacks against Israel.”
“We are not happy to go to war, but the army is fully prepared to respond to any threat and any scenario. The State of Israel will not stand by idly. We will do everything necessary to ensure that Israeli citizens can continue to sleep quietly,” Rivlin said.