Head of IDF's Strategic Division, Brig.-Gen. Ram Yavne.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Following criticism of the recent ceasefire with Hamas by some in the political class, an IDF general told the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday that the military is doubling down on its strategy of maintaining deterrence, while avoiding open war.
Head of the IDF Strategic Division, Brig.-Gen Ram Yavne said that a key to this strategy was for Israel to keep a qualitative military edge over its adversaries such that they will fear a broad and direct confrontation.
Yavne said that “none of Israel’s enemies right now are ready to pay the heavy price of fighting a war with Israel.”
In addition, he said that “there is a lot of cooperation with the Palestinian [security] apparatuses” in the West Bank “on a daily basis.”
Moreover, he said that Israel is “not in an era of coalitions of armies” threatening it with invasion like during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Also, he said that at least the country is “not under the threat of nuclear [weapon] power for the near future” from Iran – although it needs to keep a watchful eye on any progress by the Islamic Republic toward nuclear weapons.
Yavne advocated “pursuing every opportunity for regional stability,” referring to a combination of security and increasing cooperation with moderate Sunni states like Saudi Arabia.
His moderate tone sounded very different than statements made by several ministers earlier at the conference who appeared to want to confront Hamas more strongly than Israel did last week.
While Israel is powerful enough to discourage its adversaries from open war, he said that the country’s home front is in increased danger due to evolving technologies.
He noted that “technology is bringing threats closer to us” because Hamas can use rockets to target Tel Aviv, and Hezbollah in Lebanon can fire rockets on nearly anyone in Israel.
Moreover, he expressed concern that Iran was trying to transfer the ability to fire precision-guided missiles on Israel to Hezbollah and to its militias in Syria.
This intense rocket threat from Hezbollah and its systematic hiding of its arsenal in one of every three or four Shi’ite civilian homes means that millions of Lebanese civilians could be at risk in any future Lebanon war in which the IDF would need to neutralize the rockets.
Besides the rocket threat, Yavne warned of threats from underground tunnels, drones and lone wolves, and a general increase of organized terror groups closer to Israel’s borders.
Finally, he said that both Hamas and Hezbollah presented much greater threats because they were backed financially, technologically and strategically by Iran.
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