IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz spoke out Tuesday against Israeli officials who expressed doubts about an Israeli strike on Iran, implying that they were ill-informed and saying a credible threat against the Islamic Republic needed to be maintained.
Gantz, addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, also said Iran and Hezbollah were involved in the bloody crackdown in Syria and that weapons could find their way into Lebanon if Assad fell.
Over the last several months, high-ranking former officials, including ex-Mossad head Meir Dagan, former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin and former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi have spoken out against Israeli plans to strike Iran’s nuclear programs.
‘“There is a lot of chatter and conversation regarding Iran,” Gantz said. “Very few people know what is real and what is not, or what can be and what cannot be.”
In Gantz’s view, Iran’s leadership has not yet decided whether to cross the nuclear weapons threshold. The credible threat of a military strike on Iran – combined with economic and political sanctions and international isolation – must be maintained, he insisted.
The army chief also speculated that the air force would be engaged three times before 2018.
On Syria, Gantz said that despite the bloody crackdown, the country has managed to maintain its weapons systems. “We are concerned about weapons transfers between Syria and Hezbollah,” particularly if Syrian President Bashar Assad falls, he added.
“We see high Iranian and Hezbollah involvement in Syria,” he added.
“If Assad falls, which will eventually happen, there will be a crack in the radical axis… Yet if he stays in power he will be weak and instability will continue… so it’s a lose-lose situation.”