PM Netanyahu, Ya'alon and Gantz in the South.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Iran has opened up six fronts against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday at a send-off ceremony for outgoing Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
These fronts are Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Sinai, as well as Iran’s efforts to carry out terrorist attacks abroad, and its march toward nuclear weapons.
A delegation that met with Netanyahu in recent days following visits with a number of Arab leaders said that those leaders shared many of Israel’s concerns, and noted that Iran and its proxies have taken over four historic centers of the Arab world: Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and now Sanaa.
Netanyahu thanked Gantz for his long years of service, especially the last four years as IDF chief of staff during a time of unprecedented turbulence in the region. This was a time “when states have collapsed and terrorist organizations, many backed by Iran, moved into the cracks, and Iran is trying to threaten us with a stranglehold from several directions,” the prime minister said.
Gantz is leaving an army prepared for the new challenges, including one taking place in real time: “Thousands of Hezbollah fighters are in Syria, and – directed by Iran – are entering southern Syria, on our border,” Netanyahu said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman offered his input on US President Barack Obama’s recent comment that the terrorist attack at the kosher supermarket in Paris last month was the work of a “bunch of violent, vicious zealots” who “randomly shot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.” These comments were widely criticized for failing to acknowledge that Jews as Jews were the target of that attack.
Without mentioning Obama by name, Liberman – writing in the French Jewish newspaper Actualité Juive marking 30 days since the terrorist attack that killed four people, wrote, “It was not random that a Jewish grocery store was attacked and four Jews were the ones killed, that was the plan, and the goal: to bring terror to the French nation and death to its Jewish citizens.”
Liberman said that after a series of terrorist acts against Jewish targets in Europe, as well as the silence of European leaders in the face of rising anti-Semitism, the situation is increasingly reminiscent of Europe in the 1930s.
“This anti-Semitism, coupled with the high rate of assimilation, leaves those who want their children and grandchildren to remain as Jews with only one choice: to move to Israel as soon as possible,” he wrote.