Iran is behind almost all the threats against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, just one day after the IDF shot down an Iranian drone that entered the country’s airspace from Syria.
“Iran is responsible for 95% of the security threats against us, including those that you deal with both directly and indirectly.”Benjamin Netanyahu
“Iran is responsible for 95% of the security threats against us, including those that you deal with both directly and indirectly,” Netanyahu said at a Passover toast with officials of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). He added, “Of course, we must deal with new threats; this is our capability as the state of the Jewish people.”
Netanyahu spoke after Syria charged that Israel was behind an airstrike in the Damascus area, the fourth in the last week that hit Iranian-based targets.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted on Tuesday that Israel’s inner turmoil was destroying the country.
“We said a few years ago  that the Zionist regime would not see 25 years from then. They themselves are in a rush and want to leave sooner.”
The prime minister has taken pains in recent days to emphasize that the domestic turmoil over his government’s proposed judicial overhaul would not impact the country’s ability to handle security threats, whether from the Palestinians, Hezbollah or Iran.
With that in mind, he agreed to defer his decision last week to fire Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and appeared with him in a number of pre-Passover events, where the two were photographed shaking hands.
“In every generation, there are those who rise up to destroy us, and in this generation, Iran has risen up to destroy us,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony to award the Prime Minister’s Prize for Mossad Operations in 2020-2021.
“If we do not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, we will be in a different reality in which the entire world will be hostage to those who have pledged their desire to destroy us. Therefore, this is our supreme mission,” he added.
“I would like to tell our enemies not to err. No internal debate will prevent us from doing what needs to be done together in order to defend our state and prevent them from carrying out their destructive desire.”
Mossad chief Barnea to spies: Your daring, tech thwarts our enemies
At the awards ceremony, Mossad Director David Barnea complimented a number of his agents and technicians for helping save Israel “from enemies who could present a threat to our existence.”
He said the Mossad employees had shown “endless determination, patience and self-sacrifice against enemies who never halt to act against our nation for a moment.”
Further, he said his agents had “transformed visions to reality. Against them [Israel’s enemies] you acted with cleverness and with that cleverness we will continue our covert war,” likely hinting to actions attributed to the Mossad against Iran within its territory and against Iranian proxies in Syria.
The Mossad chief concluded by praising his agents for utilizing the right mix of traditional spycraft and cutting-edge technology in making enormous contributions to Israeli security.
In the past, Barnea has used such prize ceremonies to issue even more explicit threats to Iran regarding its terrorist acts in the region and nuclear-weapons aspirations.
Several major attacks on Iranian nuclear installations have been attributed to the Mossad by Iran since Barnea took over the Mossad in June 2021, as well as a recent major blow to the Islamic Republic’s drone capabilities.
It is also possible that the Mossad helped gather intelligence relating to recent attacks on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps positions in Syria, which many have attributed to Israel.
Outside of the ceremonies, Netanyahu also underscored that relations with Israel’s regional partners remained strong. He spoke on Tuesday with United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
The two leaders exchanged holiday greetings, with bin Zayed wishing Netanyahu a happy Passover and the prime minister sending the UAE president and his people best wishes for Ramadan.
“In their warm and friendly conversation, the two leaders expressed their commitment to work to continue advancing the historic peace agreement between Israel and the UAE, including its expansion to additional important areas,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.
“The two leaders agreed to continue the dialogue between them in a personal meeting in the near future.”
Israel works to sway Europe to act against Iran
Israel on Tuesday also continued its campaign to sway Europe to act against Iran. Foreign Minister Eli Cohen made a one-day trip to Prague, where he spoke with Czech President Petr Pavel and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky about the importance of reimposing crippling global sanctions on Iran.
Israel wants to put the matter on the United Nations Security Council agenda, a step the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors can take when it meets in June.
At the end of his visit to Prague, Cohen said he had secured a pledge form Pavel, whose country chairs the IAEA Board, to put the matter on the June agenda.
The Security Council had lifted its crippling sanctions against Iran in exchange for its participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is officially known.
“I thank President Petr Pavel, who is a true friend of the State of Israel, for the Czech Republic’s overwhelming support for Israel in the international arena, especially for its commitment as part of its role as IAEA [Board] chairman to promote measures and sanctions that will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” Cohen said.
Lipavsky said that during their conversation, he had emphasized the danger of Russia’s use of Iranian armed drones in Ukraine.