(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Former education and interior minister Gideon Sa'ar called on the Israeli government to attack Assad-regime targets in Syria in response to Iranian provocation, during a visit to the Golan Heights Sunday.
"If the Assad regime understands that it will pay a price, it will create a conflict of interests between the Iranians and Assad and between the Iranians and Russia," Sa'ar said.
"If we see that other means do not bring about a change in Iranian intentions, we must move to attacking Syrian regime targets," he said.
Israel has carried out multiple attacks on Iranian military sites in Syria over the past several months, culminating in massive airstrikes against dozens of targets in response to a barrage of missiles fired toward the Golan Heights on May 10.
Iran targets Israel from Syria, Israel responds, May 10, 2018 (Reuters)
Sa'ar also called on the government to increase the Jewish population of the Golan Heights, which was captured from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and de facto annexed by Israel in 1981. Syria and Israel discussed the return of the territory to Syria as part of failed peace negotiations in 1999-2000.
"This vast territory, with such great potential, should be much more populated than it is today," Sa'ar said. "The government should set goals for doubling the Jewish population in the Golan Heights in the near future."
Sa'ar, a popular center-right politician who is an oft-mentioned candidate for prime minister in a post-Netanyahu era, resigned from government in 2014.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post
in January, Sa'ar announced that he would return to politics
and run for Knesset with the Likud in the next election.