IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz speaking January 2014.
(photo credit: ADI COHEN ZEDEK)
The threat of a conventional land war against Israel is at a low point but has not disappeared, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said on Wednesday.
“The strategic threat of armies assaulting us from our borders in the type of difficult battles our fathers knew has not disappeared, and it is not certain that they won’t be back, even if the likelihood now appears low,” Gantz said, speaking at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
The chief of staff spoke about the regional threats, saying that while “many say we are currently in one of the best policy and strategy situations yet,” Israel is located in a region that remains highly sensitive and where, he said, each week there is some deterioration on the country’s borders.
In regard to the civil war in Syria, which the Israeli security establishment has been closely observing for nearly three years, Gantz was bereft of optimism, saying that regardless of the outcome for President Basher Assad, the country would not be stable.
“If Assad survives he will be a leader supported by a radical axis made up of Iran, Hezbollah and others, and if he fails [to stay in power], Syria will see the rise of radical global jihad organizations. Even if Assad survives he will not have full control of Syria.”
Gantz’s comments came during a conference on the “strategic, moral and legal considerations” of military power and the use of force, held in memory of former IDF chief of staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, who died in December 2012.