Avi Dichter and Matan Vilnai 370 .
(photo credit: GPO / Ariel Hermoni)
Incoming Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter on Sunday described Iran as an existential threat to the State of Israel, speaking an official handover ceremony at which he took the reins from outgoing minister Matan Vilna'i.
Israel's enemies, he said, are building up their capabilities to attack and harm the Jewish state, but separated them into two categories: strategic and existential threats. Strategic threats to Israel emanate from Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and Syria, he said.
Iran, he said, threatens the very existence of Israel, which the country has not experienced since its establishment.
Israel, however, has "proved to itself, to its enemies and the world that the era in which Israelis are murdered just because they are Jewish - is over!"
Earlier Sunday, an official with a different role in protecting the existence of the Jewish state shared a different threat from Iran casting its shadow over the Jewish state.
According to Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, loose lips may have sunk ships in World War II, but loose lips in the 21st century delay flights. Sharansky told Israel Radio that dozens of potential immigrants to Israel are delaying their arrival over fears of a war with Iran.
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The dozens of would-be immigrants have already finalized the details of their aliya, including where they will live upon arrival, Sharansky explained, but said many recently informed the Jewish Agency they are delaying their big move until the perceived lead-up to war passes.
The criticism appeared to be unique as most calls to end public discussions of war plans have generally centered on the wisdom of revealing internal Israeli security discussions to the international community, and even Iran.
Three-hundred and fifty new immigrants from North America arrived in Israel last week
, nearly 130 of whom arrived to join the IDF.
Sharanksy's criticism of the public discussion of war, however, was not limited to the realm of immigration. The discussions "have crossed every red line," he told Israel Radio, claiming they are harming Israel's deterrence power.
The international community views gravely the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, which Sharansky attributed to the efforts of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has left no doubt that "if the world doesn't attack, Israel will attack."
President Shimon Peres last week came out against any go-it-alone Israeli attack on Iran, saying he trusted US President Barack Obama's pledge to prevent Tehran from producing nuclear weapons.
He immediately came under attack from the Prime Minister's Office and other corners of the political arena, who called on the president to stay outside of the discussion.
On Saturday, former president Yitzhak Navon defended Peres and his decision to enter the discussion.
“It is clear to Peres, as it was clear to me, that it is not his job to intervene in government decisions, but there are situations in which it is necessary to say what you believe – even if you are president,” Navon stated.
The fifth president recounted that during his tenure in the early 1980s, he voiced his opposition to government policies “when I felt it was my responsibility as a human, like in the case of Sabra and Shatila, in which I publicly called for an inquiry led by a judge, against prime minister Menachem Begin’s wishes.”
According to Navon, Peres must have felt that this is a “fateful time” and that he must have an influence on events.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.
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