Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon expressed reserved hope on Thursday for stability in the Middle East, voicing skepticism that democratic governments could rule in the Arab world during his lifetime.
"We [Israel] are firm supporters of democracy and I wish that we were surrounded by other democracies, but I don't think I will get to see democracy in the Arab world during my lifetime," he said during a visit to Germany.
During a meeting with his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen, the defense minister stated that the situation in the Middle East remained complex and unstable, and that Germany and Israel were two democratic countries challenged by similar threats.
While placing central blame on a "messianic-apocalyptic" Iranian regime as the lead instigator of instability in the region, Ya'alon pointed to the political situations in recent years in Gaza, Egypt and Syria as examples of unstable political systems surrounding Israel.
He stressed that the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions must not progress in order to preserve safety in the region and around the world.
"We're talking about a messianic regime - apocalyptic, so one way or another its nuclear program must be stopped, otherwise it will become a nightmare for the Middle East and the entire world," a readout of the defense minister's warning quoted him as saying.
"The Iranians are involved in every conflict in the Middle East, and they support terror in South America, Asia and Africa and they send arms to Europe as well," Ya'alon said.
He also pointed toward the Hamas takeover in Gaza, the former Islamist rule in Egypt, and the Assad regime in Syria as failed opportunities by the leadership of surrounding governments in the region to achieve democracy.
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