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Yaalon: Don't Sweep the Iranian Problem Under the Rug

Israel must never underestimate its enemies and must not sweep the Iranian nuclear issue under the rug, says Defense Minister.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/1/2013, 5:46 AM

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon
Flash 90

Israel must never underestimate its enemies and must not sweep the Iranian nuclear issue under the rug, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Thursday.

Yaalon made the comments in a speech he gave during the state ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Also speaking at the ceremony were President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

"The war taught us that our real enemies are the underestimating, lack of modesty and tyranny of thought,” he said, adding, “We must never underestimate the enemy, and we must lead a responsible and prudent way of leadership.”

Yaalon added that the Middle East “has experienced an historic and unprecedented jolt. We face countries and organizations that aim to harm us in any way possible and that seek to wear down the citizens of Israel and impair the daily life here, but we are deterred because of the strength of the IDF and its steadfastness in the face of any threat.”

Referring to Iran’s efforts to achieve nuclear weapons, Minister Yaalon said, “Do not sweep the Iranian nuclear problem under the rug, as recent history proves that concessions and lack of determination now are a recipe for lack of control and disaster in later years.”

In his speech at the same ceremony, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that if the pressure on Iran continues, it will abandon its nuclear program.

“This pressure makes it difficult for Iran. They try to avoid it. If Syria had offered to rid itself of 20% of its chemical weapons, who would take it seriously?” he said.

“If the pressure weakens, Iran will continue its effort to obtain nuclear weapons,” added Netanyahu. “In any case we need to be prepared for any scenario at any time.”

President Peres also addressed the Iranian nuclear threat in his remarks, saying, "The biggest threat we face today is the Iranian threat. This is a threat to us and to the entire world, and it is good that we are integrated in a global coalition that arose and pledged to end it with measures that will prove most effective.”

Peres added, “Historically we were not enemies of the Iranian people, but we will also never become their victims. If they use force against us, we will respond with our own force, the power of which they are unaware.”