Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Credit: Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

TEL AVIV: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, still trying to form a new government, said Israel must increase its defense spending by “many billions immediately and then many billions every year” as the threat from Iran “has intensified in recent weeks.

Israel, he said yesterday, faces a significantly growing threat from Iran. The Israeli military recently attacked the Albukamal bridge, perhaps the most important part of Iran’s land corridor from Iraq to Syria, along which Hezbollah reportedly gets missiles and other supplies from Iran.

The situation here is perilous and could spin out of control very quickly, worry a number of Israeli sources.

One potential scenario, based on extensive conversations with a variety of Israeli sources: Israel keeps pounding the Albukamal bridge. Iran retaliates and fires cruise missiles from western Iraq to attack targets in Israel. Iranian proxies in Syria and Lebanon join in. Then Israel uses the situation to strike key Iranian nuclear installations.

The regional situation is already complex. Israeli intelligence sources say that the recent Iranian attacks on the Saudi oil installation is part of Teheran’s plan to control the entrance to the Red Sea. Israel, they say, will not accept such a situation.

While the different parties in Israel struggle to form a coalition, the Israeli defense establishment has come to a conclusion that the country has been left alone to deal with the Iranian threat.

“Washington or more precisely President Trump, has proven again and again that they don’t want to realize the real threat posed by regimes like those in Iran and North Korea,” said an Israeli defense source who spoke Oct. 2 on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) completed a week-long exercise for its senior combat officers to prepare them for a war against Hezbollah, providing them with the latest intelligence, fighting methods and operational plans.

The Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Cochavi, said recently that the increased threats require the IDF to make adjustments in the force structures and methods of combat to ensure Israeli’s urban spaces do not serve as a protection for the enemy. “The intensity of the fire that the enemy will encounter in the next campaign will be extraordinary, and the country itself, the one that allows terror to be established in its territory, will be defined as responsible and bear the consequences. The IDF has a moral obligation to protect its citizens from the surrounding terrorist organizations, and when the Israeli home front is threatened by thousands of missiles and rockets, we will not hesitate to attack powerfully to thwart the threats. ”

So, sources say, as the feeling in Israel mounts that the US does not intend to act against Iran except through sanctions, the chances for military confrontation with Iran and its proxies look more likely each day. (Arie Egozi).


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