Israel's Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, 'won't rule out' action against Iran

Defense Min. Benny Gantz tells 60 foreign ambassadors that Israel 'has options for action, and has known to act against Iran in the past.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Benny Gantz during the briefing
Benny Gantz during the briefing
Ariel Hermoni, Ministry of Defense

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) on Wednesday held a briefing for over 60 foreign ambassadors.

At the briefing, Gantz focused on the security situation in the Middle East, beginning with the Iranian threat.

"Iran intends to destroy Israel, and it is working in order to ensure it has the means to do that," Gantz said. "In addition, it is working via its emissaries in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza, using drones and precise missiles, acting against commercial ships in the sea, and even conducting cyberattacks around the world."

"According to the estimates which Israel has, the attack on the Mercer Street was conducted from Iranian soil, and we can assume that it was carried out with the approval of the Supreme Leader."

Gantz also pointed out that the Iranian defense budget has more than doubled within the past five years, rising from the rial equivalent of $22 billion to the rial equivalent of $49 billion.

The Defense Minister also emphasized that Israel has no conflict with the Iranian nation, only with the Iranian government, and that Israel finds the attendance of international representatives at the swearing-in ceremony of the "hangman from Tehran" to be disturbing.

"Iran is just two months away from collecting the required materials for an nuclear bomb," Gantz warned. "We do not know if the Iranian regime is willing to reach an agreement and return to the negotiating table, and the world must prepare itself a Plan B, and stop its progress right now. The goal, at the end of the day, is to reach an agreement that is 'longer, stronger, and broader.' Iran reaching the nuclear threshold places us on the brink of a regional - and perhaps global - nuclear arms race. All of Iranian aggression until now had been without this ability. If it has the ability to become nuclear, it will intensify its aggression."

"We in Israel have our own options, and we have known in the past to use the means we have, and I do not rule out that we might need to use them in the future. But Iran is first of all a challenge for the world, which needs to unite and act."

Gantz also spoke about the tension on Israel's northern border.

"In thousands of homes, there are missile storehouses," he said. "In the heart of the civilian population, Iran and Hezbollah utilize the humanitarian situation in Lebanon and prevent the formation of a stable government."

He added that Israel had offered aid to Lebanon, three times, "including to hospitals, directly through international organizations, and that Israel is willing to allow aid from the countries of the world, from its soil."

About the Palestinian Authority, Gantz said that "the Palestinian Authority and its leadership are the representatives of the Palestinians in the region, and we work to strengthen the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria."

"We approve construction, we have increased the scope of the work permits, and in the long term, we need to advance significant infrastructure projects for the benefit of the region. In Gaza, Hamas' behavior harms the population. All Israel needs in order to allow Gaza to develop and to reach a long-term agreement is for its sons to come home, and a commitment to absolute quiet in the south of the country."