Daily Israel Report

Defense Minister: Iran Remains the Biggest Threat

"The possibility of Iran having a nuclear weapon is a nightmare for the entire world. We must prepare," says Yaalon.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/23/2013, 4:15 AM

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Wednesday that the Iranian nuclear threat remains the number one threat to Israel as well as to the entire world, despite the fact that most of the world’s attention is currently directed towards the civil war in Syria.

Speaking at a conference of the Fisher Institute for National Security in Herzliya, Yaalon said, “When we look at the Middle East, there is no doubt that the Iranian threat is the number one threat, even if it’s not in the news every day. It is the number one threat on the stability of the region, first and foremost. It’s also a concrete threat against us, but it’s no less of a threat against the interests of the free world. This is a regime that, at any given moment, tries to export its revolution, thinks about how to achieve both regional and world hegemony, as imaginary as this sounds.”

“That’s why from this perspective, even if we’re currently preoccupied with something else, it is crystal clear to us that the possibility of Iran having a nuclear weapon is a nightmare for the world,” he added. “So this issue must constantly come up. The good news is that this issue has come up on the global agenda. We see the important and significant sanctions. The bad news is that the leadership there is not yet convinced that there is determination on the other side to go all the way.”

Yaalon stressed that the Iranian issue is not just a problem for Israel, but also for the West. He added that if a military strike on Iran is needed, it would be preferable if someone else other than Israel carries it out, but at the same time Israel must prepare to do it on its own, "like in the saying, 'If I am not for myself, who will be for me?'"

Regarding the ongoing civil war in Syria, the Defense Minister emphasized that Israel is “not getting involved in the Syrian civil war, but we’ve set a few rules.”

“When our interests are endangered, be it in the passing of quality weapons to hostile elements with an emphasis on Hizbullah or chemical weapons – if these weapons are transferred to the hands of hostile irresponsible elements, for us it’s a red line. And, of course, keeping the quiet in the Golan Heights. Very clear rules,” he said.