Netanyahu: Preemptive strike against Iran still an option

Gantz on coronavirus: "We didn't respond as was fit, but we will succeed this time as well."

Memorial for those who fell in the Yom Kippur War, 2020 (photo credit: GPO/KOBI GIDEON)
Memorial for those who fell in the Yom Kippur War, 2020
(photo credit: GPO/KOBI GIDEON)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel has not ruled out a preemptive strike against Iran, during a memorial service on Tuesday for those who fell in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
“A preemptive strike is a difficult thing to do,” said Netanyahu. “I know that if Iran wants to base itself in the North, we are ready to fight them. This is a direct lesson of the Yom Kippur War. We will do everything in order to protect the State of Israel; we are not ruling out a preliminary strike.”
“This is the power on our side,” added the prime minister. It is “the power that brought peace with Jordan, Egypt, agreements with the UAE and Bahrain. The power that will bring peace with additional states. The power and perseverance will allow us to handle the coronavirus crisis.”
While families across the country were prevented – due to the coronavirus lockdown – from visiting the graves of loved ones who fell in war, Netanyahu was joined at the state ceremony by President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister and Alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem
“We embrace you from afar,” Rivlin told bereaved families.
Harking back to events of 47 years ago, Rivlin reflected on how swiftly synagogues had emptied as people spontaneously went to war.
In the families of those who fought and fell in the Yom Kippur War, he said, there are already grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.
Rivlin called the war a decisive victory “for which we paid a terrible price. The Yom Kippur War will remain with us forever.”
Alluding to Israel’s lack of preparedness at the time, Rivlin cautioned that “we must always be alert to danger” and do something about threats before they become a reality.
Rivlin warned that the “surprise that was our lot” in the war must not be forgotten or repeated in health or the economy.
“The surprise that was our lot in that war must not be forgotten and must not be repeated: not in security, but also not in health or in the economy,” he said.
“I fought in the killing fields of that terrible war, and here I am today,” Rivlin said. “Almost a jubilee later, and I well remember how we won that war. In the trenches, we fought shoulder to shoulder. No one checked to see if you had peyot folded under your helmet or if you were wearing your red pad [a symbol of the Histadrut]. We stormed together, knowing that if we did not rush forward, there might not be anywhere to return to.
“Our national security requires a rebuilding of the contract between the public and its elected representatives, respect for the law and obedience to guidelines, and the reconciliation of the deep rifts among the people,” the president said.
“We will wake up the day after the plague,” Rivlin said. “I do not know when [this day] will arrive, but it will arrive. And when it arrives we must make sure we wake up to it as brothers to each other, responsible for one another.”
“At this time we must be goal-oriented, and the goal is to defeat the virus – to defeat it!” he said.
Gantz stressed during the service that the coronavirus caught Israel unprepared, similar to the Yom Kippur War: “We didn’t respond as was fit, but we will succeed this time as well.”