Here is a collection of recent statements made by top Israeli figures. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that anybody “with eyes in their head can see that Iran is growing stronger.” Two days before, he said that budgetary decisions need to be made and that the defense budget needed vast reinforcement – billions, and right away, too, requiring tough decisions by the government, and the public had to be prepared.
Knesset member Avigdor Lieberman, the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu, called on Netanyahu and on Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz to “show responsibility” given the “state of national emergency.” President Reuven Rivlin has also said that Israel is in a state of national emergency, the likes of which we haven’t seen for many years. Minister Yuval Steinitz of Likud said the Iranians are right on our borders and Israel faces threats “on a daily basis.”
Do they know something we don’t? Maybe less than one might think. The public already sees most of the big picture, but perhaps not in as high resolution. Israel has stepped up its level of military friction with Iran in Syria in the last couple of years, and the last three months have brought reports of Israeli attacks on Iranian sites and organizations in Iraq and one in Lebanon. The Iranians, especially the Revolutionary Guard Corps, have vowed revenge several times.
Israeli intelligence predicts that vengeance could take the form of cruise missiles or drones sent from Syria or western Iraq, where Shi’ite militias are operating with the support of Iran. The latest Iranian attack in Saudi Arabia rang warning bells in Jerusalem, given the show of high operational ability and potential Israeli weakness in defending itself against similar attacks.
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