The main threat Israel faces in the near future is from Iran, and not Syria, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri said Monday, even as the US made its case for military action in Syria.
"We must remember that Iran is a terrorist state, that is willing and ready to support terrorist networks carry out terrorist activities in the world, specifically in the Mediterranean," former Shin Bet chief Peri told the annual World Summit on Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
While highlighting the significance of the Iranian threat to the region, Peri added that Syria is quickly becoming Iran's launch pad for terrorist ideology and activity.
"Iran has turned Syria into its playground which will create a security challenge for Israel," Peri said, referring to the many Syrian rebel groups that identify with the global Jihad movement.
Although Peri dwelt on the "regional instability" caused by Iran and the conflict with Syria, Peri pointed out that Egypt offers similar threats that must be watched carefully and taken seriously.
"The instability in Egypt creates another risk for Israel," he said. "The situation in our region is taking shape as radical Islamic groups leave their hiding places to announce their intentions to attack Western targets and specifically the United States."
US army major Brian Farris, who holds a position at the West Point military academy based in New York, also spoke at the conference and noted the importance of creating realistic expectations from the public.
"It is important to cultivate realistic expectations for the public regarding what is possible and what isn't possible in the fight on terror," Farris said. "We can't decisively win the war on terror in the same way that it is impossible to cure an incurable disease."
"What you can do, and should do - is to constantly learn how to fight terrorism effectively," he added.