Defense Minister Ehud Bark on Monday declared an unmistakeable Israeli readiness to strike at Iran’s nuclear program if sanctions and other non-military measures fail to thwart the Tehran regime’s march to the bomb.
Speaking to reporters at a memorial cemetery for fallen soldiers at the kibbutz where he was born, Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon, Barak rejected the notion that Israel was merely pretending to be gearing up for military action, as part of a “hold us back” strategy designed to pressure the international community into taking the Iranian threat more seriously.
“We’re not playing games here,” he retorted. “These are genuine, serious matters. Underpinning all the preparations and the activities (being undertaken by the Israeli army), there has to be a willingness to tackle the real challenge if it comes,” he said. “This is not theoretical. This is not (preparation) for the sake of it.”
Barak, who has spoken in the past about the challenge of tackling Iran today being less complex than the challenge of tackling an Iran with a nuclear capability, added that “one of the benefits of our clear stance (on the imperative to thwart Iran) is that the entire Iran issue is taken seriously and urgently by the international community.”
He said that, “so far as it is up to us, we really have to be ready for every kind of test. I don’t want to elaborate as regards our capabilities, but when we speak to our friends about not taking any options off the table, we mean what we say.”
The rhetoric of the Israeli leadership as regards Iran increasingly features comparisons between the Iranian leadership and the Nazis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli figures repeatedly drew that parallel last week, in comments marking Holocaust Remembrance Day, and it may well be a feature of speeches this week on Wednesday’s Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and Thursday’s 64th anniversary of Israel’s independence.
Last week, Israel’s military forces and military censors allowed the local Channel 10’s defense correspondent to broadcast a detailed report on Israeli Air Force preparations for a potential strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Barak said after the one-day talks in Istanbul this month between Iran and the P5+1 world powers, which were suspended until May 23, that he feared they were a waste of “precious time.” And Netanyahu said the five-week interregnum was “a freebie” in which Iran could press ahead with its nuclear drive without inhibitions.