PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran on Sunday that Israel “views gravely” its attempts to set up a military presence in Syria and to arm Hezbollah with advanced weaponry via Syria and Lebanon.
His comments at the weekly cabinet meeting came a day after the IDF responded to mortar fire from Syria by attacking Syrian army targets across the border.
“Our policy is clear,” he said. “We will not accept any kind of 'drizzle, not of mortars, rockets, or spillover fire [from the Syrian Civil War]. We respond with force to every attack on our territory and against our citizens.”
Israel strikes Syrian targets in response to earlier cross-border fire, June 24, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Netanyahu has said repeatedly that Israel will act to prevent game-changing weapons from reaching Hezbollah through Syria, to prevent the establishment of a permanent Iranian military presence on its border, and to keep rockets from being fired from Syria into Israel.
Turning to diplomatic issues, he said that in advance of the visit next week of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the cabinet will approve a number of measures aimed at enhancing the relationship between the two countries.
“This is a historic visit,” he said. “For 70 years no Indian prime minister has visited the country, and this is another expression of the military, economic and diplomatic strength of Israel,” he said, calling Modi’s visit “a very significant step towards strengthening the ties between the two countries.”
Netanyahu said that relations with India, a country of 1.25 billion people and one of the world's largest economies, is on a steady increase.
The cabinet decisions regarding ties with India that will pass include increasing exports, deepening cooperation in the fields of water and agriculture, establishing a joint fund for research and innovation, and increasing Indian tourism to Israel The steadily growing ties with India, he said, “is another expression of Israel's international position which has gotten stronger over the last number of years, as we have strengthened Israel.”
The prime minister also mentioned the ongoing crisis at in the pediatric hemato-oncology department at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, saying it has gone on for “too long.”
Before the issue goes to the High Court of Justice on Wednesday, Netanyahu called on the sides of the dispute to return the situation to what it was in March before six physicians who are experts in blood cancer resigned to protest the management of the Hadassah Medical Organization by its director-general, Prof. Zeev Rotstein. Netanyahu said the sides should then take the next six to 12 months to resolve the issue.