MK Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Union), who is also a Major-General in the IDF's reserves, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the possibility that recent events on Israel's northern border will lead to a war, and Israel's preparedness for such a war.
In the interview, Ben-Reuven explained that as a member of Israel's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee he could not discuss every foreign report, but he could definitely say that Iran is taking advantage of the chaos in Syrian in order to deepen its foothold in the area, as close as possible to Israel.
Iranian infiltration is usually carried out by placing Shiite "militias" and advanced ammunition in the target areas, so that it has a longer-lasting and more targeted effect. By doing such, Iran has opened up the possibility of another war in Syria.
"The issue right now is that there is nothing separating the Iranian infiltration and Israel's correct statement that there will be no land border between Israel and Iran," Ben-Reuven said. "The people who were supposed to be the 'brakes' in this situation were the Russians, whose planes are currently massacring Syrian civilians in Damascus. The Russians aren't doing their job, and the Americans, unfortunately, aren't in the area and hardly say anything. So if the situation continues the way it is, we're on our way to another widescale war in Israel's north. I pray that I'm wrong."
When asked whether such a deterioration can happen suddenly, or if it will be gradual, Ben-Reuven refuses to rule out the possibility that things will change very suddenly.
"The explosive situation is just getting worse, because Israel, according to foreign sources, is not sitting and waiting, and things are happening," he said, adding that when things happen in such an explosive situation, they are liable to blow up in a way that none of the sides are interested in. Events are liable to cause injuries, G-d forbid, and from there, war may break out.
"And I am absolutely not going to give any kind of timetable for this," Ben-Reuven warned.
Ben-Reuven said he believes the IDF is preparing properly for war, and "it's important that the Israeli public understand the situation. Two weeks of quiet since the plane incident are misleading. The public needs to follow the IDF's lead, and the IDF is doing its job and preparing for all possibilities."
However, he criticized the home front's defenses, especially those in the north. In Ben-Reuven's opinion, if the current situation carries the risk that residents of northern towns may find themselves under fire, preparations need to be made accordingly.
"We are very far from the [ideal] of having a 'safe room' for every citizen," he warned, noting that the 150 million NIS included in the 2019 budget for the purpose are not enough. In reality, half a billion shekels are needed every year for a long-term security plan, which will generate two and a half billion shekels. This is necessary, he said, "in order to bring the north to a passable level of preparedness for this war, which is a difficult war."
Watch the Hebrew interview here: