Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered a glimpse into his strategic aspirations Thursday at a Jewish New Year's reception at Mossad headquarters, which also marked 65 years since the intelligence arm's founding.
"We cannot solve the basic problems of the Middle East,” he said. “They are revealing themselves in their full force, and today our enemy is a double enemy: it is radical Shi'ite Islam that is led by Iran and its proxies, and the Sunni one, currently led by ISIS (Islamic State).”
"They fight each other, but they agree that we have no place in this Muslim region, as they see it. The alliances change, they rise and fall and rise again and send arms in various directions, including ours.”
"There is one certain rule,” Netanyahu intoned: “No one strikes an alliance with the weak. Our true defense in the years of the state's existence and the 65 years that the Mossad is marking now, is the strength of the state of Israel. It is this strength that we maintain.”
"In the face of this changing world, Israel must be a power. Not just a regional power, but in some spheres, a world power.”
Three days ago, Netanyahu met Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss regional arrangements.
Netanyahu said he was determined to stop arms deliveries to the Hezbollah terrorist group that has been aiding Assad forces, and accused Syria's army and Iran of trying to create a "second front" against Israel. Iran has deployed hundreds of additional soldiers from its Revolutionary Guards Force in an effort to prevent flagging pro-Assad forces crumbling in the face of concerted rebel offensives on their western heartlands.
Putin for his part said Russia's actions in the Middle East "always were and will be very responsible," and downplayed the threat by Syrian forces to Israel.
"We know and understand that the Syrian army and Syria in general is in such a state that it isn't up to opening a second front - it is trying to maintain its own statehood," he said in comments broadcast on Russian television.