"We see Syria developing a very serious threat on the northern border," Ambassador Sallai Meridor told journalists in Washington on Wednesday. He said the threat is manifest in military activity, training, great investments in military equipment - and the build-up of a large arsenal of Scud missiles.
"In the past," Meridor said, "the assumption was that the Syrians' tanks and air force were not among the most advanced. Now, however, we are concerned that they might think that with a large arsenal of rockets that can reach everywhere in Israel, they have the capacity... to threaten us."
The last time Israel's north-eastern neighbor threatened Israel so fiercely build-up was the 1973 Yom Kippur War. That war was set off when Syria and Egypt simultaneously attacked Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish year.
"We hope they do not have offensive intentions," Meridor said, "but we cannot be sure." The ambassador said that Israel is attempting to pass "calming messages" to Syria, but that Syria continues to "thwart attempts to create attempts to create an atmosphere that will promote peace."
Syria has demanded for 40 years that Israel relinquish control over the Golan Heights - the mountainous area from which Syria often launched attacks against Israeli communities below until Israel captured the Golan in the 1967 Six Day War.
Long one of Israel's most implacable enemies, Syria continues to provide assistance, money and training to Hamas, Hizbullah, and other terrorist groups.