In north, Liberman warns Israel’s enemies ‘not to test us’
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In north, Liberman warns Israel’s enemies ‘not to test us’

Touring area, newly installed defense minister says border ‘in good hands’; stresses Jerusalem seeks quiet

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tours Israel's northern border on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tours Israel's northern border on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Israel’s enemies should not “test us,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday as he met with senior Israel Defense Forces officials to assess the Northern Command’s preparedness for threats from Lebanon and Syria and to get a better general understanding of the army.

During his visit, the newly installed Liberman spoke with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot; the head of the Northern Command, Aviv Kochavi; Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman; and Maj. Gen. Yossi Bachar.

“I heard reviews of the area, which is an area that is always sensitive, and I can say that our northern border is in good and safe hands,” Liberman said.

“We don’t have any other plans other than maintaining the quiet, and I hope that everyone understands that well, including our neighbors. But in any case, I don’t recommend that anyone test us,” he added.

Leader of the nationalist Yisrael Beytenu party, Liberman was sworn in as defense minister last Monday after the cabinet unanimously approved the coalition-expanding agreement that brought his party into the Likud-led coalition. A Knesset vote shortly after approved his appointment.

In a possible effort to assuage concerns over previous aggressive rhetoric, since taking office Liberman has declared that Israeli national unity is more important than territory, has vowed to prevent unnecessary future conflicts and end ongoing “wars of attrition.”

He has also expressed support for the two-state solution with the Palestinians.

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