IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz on Tuesday took an apparent swipe at former defense establishment officials making public pronouncements about the Iranian nuclear threat, saying that "there is a lot of idle chatter on the issue."
While discussing Israel's current security situation at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Gantz said that in regard to a potential attack on Iran, "Only a very few people know what is and is not possible. Many people claim to know, but don't really know, and there are those that knew at one time, but don't know today."
The chief of staff's comments appeared to be directed at former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin, who have publicly questioned Israel's current leadership for threatening an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities and suggested that such an attack would not be effective in seriously curbing Iran's nuclear program.
Gantz said that while Iran was still taking steps toward obtaining nuclear arms, "Tehran has not yet decided to cross the nuclear threshold all the way, due to their own strategic considerations."
He added that the international effort to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions could potentially bear fruit. "The economic pressure, the sanctions and the military threats could lead the Iranians to say 'not now' to passing the threshhold." In any event, Gantz stated, it was the IDF's role to be prepared for a conflict, and he deemed the military "super-ready."
The chief of staff stated that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah were "highly involved" in the unrest shaking Syria and that this unrest could potentially affect Israel.
"The instability in the Golan Heights is growing as a result of the events there, including in the area near the border." He warned that the lack of stability could eventually stem terror attacks directed against Israel. Gantz said that the Syrian situation was a "lose-lose situation" and that that instability would reign in the country whether President Bashar Assad falls or not.