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'According to foreign reports, even Sudan is changing'

Ex-defense official credits much of Israel’s security to ties with Arab states

But Amos Gilad says coordination with Mideast countries is limited until government solves conflict with Palestinians

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Amos Gilad, the former head of the Defense Ministry’s political affairs bureau, speaks at a conference at the Netanya Academic College on March 21, 2017. (Screen capture: Facebook)
Amos Gilad, the former head of the Defense Ministry’s political affairs bureau, speaks at a conference at the Netanya Academic College on March 21, 2017. (Screen capture: Facebook)

The former head of the Defense Ministry’s political affairs bureau said Tuesday that much of the success of Israel’s security apparatus is thanks to its growing relations with its Arab neighbors.

“All our security services have great relationships with Arab countries. That’s an incredible asset for Israel,” Amos Gilad said referring to Egypt and Jordan along with several “other” unnamed Arab nations.

“According to foreign reports, even Sudan is changing,” Gilad said at a conference hosted by the Netanya Academic College on Tuesday.

However, Gilad said Israel’s growing ties with the Arab world would be limited until the government deals with the Palestinian issue.

“Will there be a peace agreement? I’m not one who thinks there will be. But we need to give it a chance,” he said.

Gilad added that if Israel’s security cooperation with the Palestinians breaks down, the results would be disastrous and have international ramifications.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Jordan in January 2014 (photo credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Jordan in January 2014 (photo credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO/FLASH90)

Regarding Iran, the former IDF general disagreed with the view that the nuclear deal inherently means the Islamic republic would develop such a weapon.

“It depends on what the world does,” he said.

Gilad said that “everyone agrees that Iran with a nuclear weapon is insufferable,” and would create an “image problem” for Israel.

In addition to the threat of an Iranian nuclear warhead itself, it would also inspire other countries in the region to develop their own.

“What? Egypt won’t want a nuclear weapon?” he asked rhetorically.

Gilad in his remarks went on to defend former US president Barack Obama, who he said has become something of a punching bag for Israel.

“It’s easy to criticize [Obama]. But on the military front, the relationship was incredible, is incredible and will continue to be incredible,” he said.

“And besides, we don’t have a replacement for the United States.”

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