Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Iran could be coerced into abandoning its nuclear arms program, but warned against the consequences of letting up on international sanctions against Tehran.
“If the pressure is kept up, Iran will give up its military nuclear capability,” Netanyahu said at an official ceremony in Jerusalem marking 40 years since the Yom Kippur War. “If the pressure wavers, it will continue in its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.
“In any case, the IDF needs to be ready for every eventuality in every place, all of the time,” he added. “Forty years after the Yom Kippur War, the IDF is stronger than ever and we need to take care that it continues to remain strong.”
Netanyahu’s comments came hours after the security cabinet approved a NIS 2.7 billion ($708 million) budget increase for the IDF.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, also speaking at the ceremony, talked of changes in the tactics of Israel’s adversaries, from open war to terror attacks.
“The enemies realized that they can’t win on the battlefield, so instead they moved to the field of rockets and terror,” he said. “This is a challenging and elusive Middle East with unprecedented turmoil, in which we face countries and organizations seeking to hurt us and our citizens, but they are deterred because of the power of the IDF and its resilience.”
Ya’alon pointed an accusing finger at Iran for funding terror against Israel and spreading terror in the region and the world. The defense minister echoed Netanyahu’s message, that there must be no relenting on crippling economic sanctions until Iran gives up its nuclear weapons program.
“The nations of the world should not give up the pressure until Iran decides between survival or the bomb,” he said.
President Shimon Peres and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz also attended the ceremony.
The Yom Kippur War began on October 6, 1973, with a surprise joint attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria. It continued for three weeks. Although Israel was eventually victorious, there were heavy loses on all sides of the conflict.