Israel is engaged in a continuous campaign to weaken Iran and to remove its forces from Syria, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday.“We are constantly working to raise the stakes for Iran until we reach our ultimate goal: removing them from Syria. We will continue to prevent an Iranian presence on our northern border,” Bennett said at Kibbutz Dafna in the Galilee during a ceremony marking the Disaster of the Helicopters that occurred on February 4, 1997. “For generations, we have been constantly fighting the arms of the Iranian octopus in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza, and we have not focused enough on the weakening of Iran itself,” Bennett said, adding that there has now been a change in Israel’s way of thinking.“We are in a continuous campaign to weaken the Iranian octopus. On the economic level, political, intelligence, military, and others,” he explained. “When [an] octopus’s arms beat you, don’t fight back with only your arms, but strangle the head. And so it is with Iran.”Israel has warned repeatedly about Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well as aspirations of regional hegemony. Jerusalem has admitted to hundreds of airstrikes as part of its “war-between-wars” campaign to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the entrenchment of its forces in Syria where they could easily act against the Jewish state.“Even now, the northern sector continues to occupy us. But the relative quiet does not confuse us, the IDF is prepared and ready for any scenario,” Bennett said. “We say to Iran: You have nothing to look for in Syria.”According to the defense minister, while Soleimani’s assassination was a formative event that has significantly affected the region, Israel will continue to work to prevent Iranian entrenchment on Israel’s northern border.“And as long as you keep trying to build terrorist bases there, we will only increase the strikes against you,” he warned. “We are working constantly and will make them pay high prices until we reach our ultimate goal: removing Iran from Syria.”The ceremony at Kibbutz Dafna was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Knesset members, heads of regional council and the families of the victims.“This event, for me, marks not only the helicopter disaster, but a sort of anniversary of the South Lebanon Security Belt. Call this war “The war without a name.” This is the time between the First Lebanon War and the Second. We remember the heroes who gave their lives for the lives of others, and salute them,” Bennett said.On February 4, 1997, two Israeli Air Force Sikorsky CH-53 “Yasur” helicopters carrying IDF troops collided in midair killing everyone on board. One of the helicopters crashed near Kibbutz Dafna and the other near She’ar Yashuv. A memorial now stands in Kibbutz Dafna for the victims, with 73 boulders, each with the name of one of the fallen surrounding a small pool.Speaking at the ceremony, IDF Chief of Staff Kochavi said that while the landscape of the North is peaceful, the enemy just a few tens of kilometers from the ceremony has become a terrorist army.“On our way here we looked at the spectacular views of the North, passed through the flowing streams and the lush mountains, but a few tens of kilometers from here, beyond the northern border, in Lebanon, wrapped and embedded in a similar landscape, is the enemy who has become a terrorist army. An army because of the extent of its forces and weapons, and terrorism for their inferior code of values that drives it and by which it operates – harming civilians.”“The landscape does not mislead us, and we are busy from morning to night, every week all year, “ Kochavi said.