|IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz 390 (R).(Photo by: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)|
Gantz: Israel super-ready to attack Iran if needed
By LAHAV HARKOV
IDF Chief of Staff slams chatter on Iranian nuclear threat by former defense establishment officials.
Israeli preparedness to attack Iran is a major deterrent, IDF Chief of Staff
Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on
Gantz listed reasons Tehran may give up on nuclear weapons, such
as “the vectors of international diplomatic isolation, economic pressure and
sanctions, disturbances to the [nuclear] project that I won’t get into and a
credible military threat.”
He added that “in order to be a credible
military threat, we must be super-ready – and as far as I’m concerned, we’re
The IDF chief explained that Iran had yet to determine
whether to use its nuclear capabilities for weapons, and only Tehran could make
that final decision. The IDF is prepared for either scenario, he
“There is a lot of chatter and public debate on this matter,” he
pointed out. “The Iranian issue – capabilities or lack thereof, how things are
developing and where it’s going – is very dynamic, and very few people know what
is possible or impossible.”
Gantz said many people claimed to know what
was happening, but they did not, and the public debate and professional debate
were far from each other.
“Some people used to know, and they don’t
today,” he stated, in reference to former defense establishment officials like
former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)
chief Yuval Diskin, who have said an attack on Iran would not be
Gantz also said the IDF was concerned about arms smuggling
between Hezbollah and Syria, noting that there was more movement than ever
before and that Iran and Hezbollah were very involved in
Instability on the Golan Heights has increased as a result of the
situation in Syria, as have the security issues near the border, although there
has not yet been any terrorist activity, he said.
The chief of staff
called Syria a “lose-lose situation,” because if Syrian President Bashar Assad
were to fall, radical elements would take over. If he remains in power, he will
be weak, Gantz continued, and there will be instability.
won’t happen in Syria,” the IDF chief said, explaining that there was likely to
be an increase in arms smuggling in either case.
He also called for the
IDF to compile a multi-year plan with an increased budget, saying that at
present the military was “floating like a raft, not sailing like a
“The framework of the budget does not allow a reasonable
continuation of a multi-year plan in the complex strategic reality and negative
trends,” he stated. “We must ensure our ability to attack from the air and
ground at the same time. I must ensure that the active units are not hollow and
can fulfill any mission.”
Gantz added that he had total faith in the air
force and intelligence, but that he must make sure to preserve their power.