A top defense official sought United States support to bolster IDF forces as a security expert on Thursday predicted that Israel might have to strike Iran within the year to halt its nuclear program.
“We held important meetings to promote significant projects focused on force buildup in the face of emerging security challenges – first and foremost, the Iranian nuclear program,” Defense Ministry Director-General Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Eyal Zamir said.
He spoke after a meeting with US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl in Washington, which took place as Israel remains in danger of an immediate war on one or all of three borders – Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria – after rockets were launched during the last week against Israel from all three fronts.
The IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate informed the upper echelon on Thursday that Israel was closer to war than to a restoration of calm, according to a report in Walla.
KAN News reported that the IDF is strengthening its air defense systems throughout the country, but that in an unusual way, it was orienting Iron Dome batteries in the direction of Lebanon and Syria, rather than keeping them focused more primarily on Gaza.
'We need to prepare for the war'
Former national security adviser Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror warned against the dangers that Israel faced, both from Iran and from its two northern borders of Syria and Lebanon, in an interview he gave to Radio 103FM.
“We need to prepare for the war” for which the main component of the preparation would be the ability to execute a long-distance attack, Amidror said, adding that this was particularly important with respect to Iran.
“It could be that within the next year, we would get to the point where we would have to strike Iran to stop its nuclear program,” Amidror stated.
Israel would do this, even if it had to act alone without the United States, the former national security adviser said, explaining that it would likely receive arms and funding from Washington. The IDF has never relied on US involvement in such a strike and has planned to resolve its own security issues, he said.
“There is no need to change that” kind of self-reliance, Amidror explained.
He also warned against a pending war with the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah in Lebanon.
There would be a lot of damage to the home front in such a war with the Lebanese terrorist group, Amidror said.
These are “two completely different wars,” but for each one, the IDF has to be “very well prepared” given that they could break out in the next year, he explained.
Israel’s military deterrence has taken a hit as a result of the domestic turmoil over the judicial overhaul program, Amidror said. He referenced specifically the phenomenon of reservist soldiers who have threatened not to serve as a protest statement.
“The world looks at the State of Israel differently,” the major general said, adding that this was particularly true concerning nearby countries.
“They do not understand how it can be that within the State of Israel, there are threats to dismantle the military capability. This is how they understand the refusal movement of those who oppose the [judicial] reform.”
In an interview with Channel 14 on Thursday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “if it’s up to me, Iran will not have nuclear weapons,” noting that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was advancing.
“We will not let the Ayatollahs stop Jewish history. We will do everything that we need to do to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We will do everything that we need to do alone or with others,” he said, “but if we need to fight alone, we will do that.”
Netanyahu said that Israel’s enemies should not make the mistake of thinking that the domestic turmoil had weakened the Jewish state, noting that it had executed effective counter-strikes for all the rocket attacks against it.
He spoke specifically about the attempt by Hamas to launch rockets against Israel from bases in Lebanon.
“Hamas will not open a new front in Lebanon,” he said
“We are always prepared for a war,” the prime minister said, adding that Israel was so braced for it that if there was a measurement for such things, it would be 360 degrees of preparation.
“We are operating in all fronts and showing our enemies that... it is not a good idea to open a war with Israel,” Netanyahu said.
In Washington, Zamir spoke with Kahl about ways to strengthen Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge, according to the Defense Ministry. He was also slated to meet with officials in the Pentagon and the State Department.
Zamir said that in his Washington talks, “I expressed the Israel Defense Ministry’s appreciation for the American government’s unwavering commitment to the State of Israel and its national defense and for ensuring Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.”
In Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp staged parades against Israel on Thursday, in advance of Friday’s annual Al-Quds day, which calls for the liberation of Palestine, specifically Jerusalem from Israeli “occupation.”
Additional rallies are planned on Friday.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry called to “terminate the savage crimes of Zionists.”
The crimes of the “usurper Zionist regime [and] organized [and] blatant violation of the primary principles of human rights [and] established rules [and] regulations of int‘l law as well as desecrating religious [and] Islamic sanctities and in particular the Al-Aqsa Mosque make it an urgent necessity for Muslims to get united and consolidated once again and support the heroic resistance of the Palestinian nation,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.