‘Israel prepared more than ever for war’

At IDF college ceremony, Liberman says Jerusalem is source of Israel’s strength.

THIS IMAGE SHOWS how the IDF military campus under construction in Jerusalem will look.  (photo credit: IDF)
THIS IMAGE SHOWS how the IDF military campus under construction in Jerusalem will look.
(photo credit: IDF)
Israel is more prepared than ever in case of a military conflict but needs to continue to improve in order to deal with growing regional threats, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said at a ceremony in Jerusalem.
“As someone who has been observing the IDF since 1996 [when he became director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office], I can say that in terms of readiness of the army, it is unprecedented today,” Liberman said on Monday at a ceremony marking the laying of the cornerstone for a military college in Jerusalem.
“The Land of Israel was bought not by virtue of force, but by force of right,” Liberman said, quoting Menachem Begin, “and Jerusalem is our right and the source of our strength and power, and we are simply going to exercise it.”
More than NIS 1.4 billion has been invested in the college, which will spread over 30 hectares (74 acres) near the former Swedish Village institution and will be used for offices, hotels and cultural and recreational institutions.
The ceremony was also attended by members of the General Staff, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. The IDF chief said that the choice to establish a military college in Jerusalem attests to the close ties between the military and the people and its heritage.
Liberman continued, “At the moment, in terms of the army’s readiness, I can say with full confidence, to the credit of the chief of staff and the generals of the General Staff, we are much more prepared than ever, but that is not enough. We will likely need to prepare even more in light of the developments and in light of the declarations we all heard today.”
On Monday, Maj.-Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, commander-in-chief of the Iranian Army, threatened to raze Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground if Israel acts against the Islamic Republic.
“We will destroy the Zionist entity at lightning speed, and thus shorten the 25 years it still has left,” Iranian media quoted Mousavi as saying. “I warn the [Zionist] entity not to make any stupid move against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he threatened.
“Any [such] stupid act will [have us] turn Tel Aviv and Haifa into dust.”
Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concern about Iran and its proxies such as Hezbollah entrenching themselves in Syria.
Eisenkot said, “These days, the strategic map is changing dramatically.
The IDF is following developments beyond its borders and is working to ensure the readiness of the forces for any kind of scenario.”
The IDF recently completed a large scale drill in the country’s north, with tens of thousands of soldiers drilling for a war with Hezbollah, including simulating occupying Lebanese territory in order to force a UN resolution that improves the security situation on the northern border.
Eisenkot said “the regular and reserve forces exercised their defense and attack capabilities in depth and deep inside ‘enemy’ territory. IDF commanders and soldiers will continue to act resolutely and vigorously to fulfill the mission of defending the State of Israel.”