(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Iran poses a "central threat" to the Jewish state, said IDF Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin Tuesday, as he warned members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to take the Iranian president's threats seriously.
"These are not slips of the tongue," Yadlin said in regards to President Ahmadinejad's threats to "wipe out" Israel. "They are remarks that represent an ideological aggression towards Israel."
He said that Iran was proceeding with its weapons program and that it was within its means to create a nuclear arsenal.
"Iran's plan is to engulf or destroy Israel in three ways," said Yadlin. Those three, he said, consisted of supporting Palestinian terror organizations and Hizbullah, exerting psychological pressure on Israel and advancing its nuclear weapons program.
The meeting began with a toast to honor Yadlin's first appearance there, and proceeded with the newly appointed chief elaborating on trends regarding Iran's nuclear weapon program and Hamas's victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.
"There is an arc of evil that stretches between Teheran and Damascus," said Yadlin. "It includes Hizbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad."
He added that intelligence indicated a number of Iranian military officials had recently visited Syria to create a defense alliance in case either country needed military assistance.
In regards to Hamas, Yadlin said that it had dismissed the possibility of forming a technocratic government, and that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was being considered to head a more moderate Hamas government.
Calling the victory of Hamas a "dramatic upheaval," Yadlin said terrorist organizations were using democratic means to advance their own interests.
"We have seen an increase in the use of the democratic process to advance terrorism," he said.