If Israel withdraws from the Golan Heights it will find itself with Iran and Hezbollah on the banks of Lake Kinneret, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.
Speaking at the dedication of the restored 1,500-year-old synagogue at the Umm al-Qanatir archeological site in the Golan Heights, Netanyahu warned that Iran and Hezbollah are “continuously trying to establish a force that will act against Israel in the Golan and Galilee. We will thwart that.”
The prime minister noted that Israel’s presence in the Golan is a guarantor of stability in the area, and is justified by its ancient Jewish ties – something he said the international community should recognize.
“As long as it is dependent on me, the Golan will remain under Israeli sovereignty. Otherwise we will get Iran and Hezbollah on the banks of the Kinneret.”
Netanyahu reiterated that Jerusalem will “continue to act against Iranian efforts to open an additional front against us in the Golan and in Syria, and will act against efforts to transfer lethal weapons to Hezbollah.”
Last week, Russia delivered S-300
advanced anti-aircraft missile batteries to Syria, making IAF action against Iranian positions in Syria more challenging.
The prime minister said he will discuss this in his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This will be the first meeting between the two leaders since Syrian’s downing of a Russian intelligence plane last triggered a crisis between Moscow and Jerusalem.
“I know that President Putin understands my commitment to Israel’s security, and I know he also understands the importance I attribute to the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also praised the restoration of Ein Keshatot, the largest historical synagogue discovered in the Golan to date, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 749 CE. The synagogue and connecting spring are viewed as one of the most significant historical sites uncovered in Israel, connecting the Jewish people to the Golan dating to the Byzantine period.
“You can only secure your future when you secure your past,” stated Netanyahu. “That is why we have given NIS 12.4 million to this project.”
The restoration, which took 15 years and cost NIS 30 million, was carried out by engineer Yehoshua Drey and archeologist Haim Ben-David of the Kinneret Academic College and Bar-Ilan University using 3D imaging technology to return the fallen basalt stones to their original positions.Zachary Keyser contributed to this report.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>