As world powers met with Iranian officials in Geneva on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a veiled reference to his often-repeated warning that a preemptive strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities might be inevitable, saying that the Yom Kippur War had taught Israel the lesson that a preventive strike is a defense option that should not be abandoned.
"A preventive strike is not required in every situation, but it should be weighed carefully as a viable option," the prime minister, said at a Knesset ceremony to mark 40 years since the Yom Kippur War broke out.
Israel had emerged stronger since the war, and Israel would remain vigilant with regard to its security and would not fall asleep on its watch, he said, adding that going to war is one of the hardest decisions a government can make.
Emphasizing Israel's turnaround since the war, Netanyahu noted that the Israeli economy had grown by 25% since 1973. He also mentioned the fact that his late brother Yoni Netanyahu had fought on the Golan in 1973, and read from a letter his brother had written from the front.
In his address, Netanyahu also tied the Iranian nuclear threat to a peace deal with the Palestinians and said that it was too simple to say that a peace deal would solve everything, because a nuclear Iran would threaten that peace.
"A peace deal with the Palestinians will not create peace in the larger region" Netanyahu said. "Two sides are needed for peace, those prime ministers who made peace had partners."
The war, which began on October 6, 1973 with a surprise attack by the Egyptian army, saw the very existence of Israel threatened as it faced enemy assaults on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. But the Israeli forces soon rallied, what had initially seemed like a devastating onslaught within days transitioned into an overwhelming military victory.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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