Former Defense Minister: No immediate danger of escalation

Former Defense Minister Ya'alon says no need to fear escalation, attack on Syria isn't related to Israel.

Hezki Baruch,

Moshe Yaalon
Moshe Yaalon
Flash 90

Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Saturday said that Israel should not worry about what larger powers do.

Speaking at a Shabbatarbut event (political and cultural forums that take place on the Sabbath), Ya'alon said, "In Syria's chaotic reality, it's better for us to focus on our own interests. What happened last night is in the field of the larger powers, and it's not supposed to be directly connected to us. We don't need to be alarmed, and we certainly don't need to be afraid."

On Friday night, the United States, Britain, and France on Friday night attacked eight pre-selected targets in Syria, responding to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's recent use of chemical weapons against civilians in Douma.

"In general, I think that Israel is handling is foreign and security policies correctly," he explained. "We have succeeded, in the past few years, of deterring the main players in Syria. We're not on the same page as the Russians, but we have open [communications] channels with them, and we don't bother each other. The Syrians, the Iranians, and Hezbollah all know that if they act or threaten to act against us, we will immediately use our long arm with a club.

"Iran already attempted to start up with us, via their proxies, when I was Defense Minister. They did this through placing explosives on the fence in the Golan Heights, by shooting rockets into our territory. And it ended....when the emissaries sent by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were no longer alive. The Iranians renewed their efforts when they sent the drone into Israel, and our defense system acted correctly and foiled the attempt. Right now they are threatening, and I saw Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah reading off a page of messages from Iran."

However, Ya'alon said he does not believe Iran is currently capable, or interested, in attacking Israel.

"Analyzing the various interests, I don't think that Iran has any interest, desire, or ability right now to harm us in the way they're threatening to," he said. "The one who could do it, as their proxy, is Hezbollah. They are warning about the future, but in the interim, our deterrence is working. I don't think there is any immediate danger of escalation."

Ya'alon also warned that Israel should not rely wholly on US judgment and management of the situation.

"We must always be concerned for the future, and we must continue to act responsibly and use proper judgment. It would be well if less of the officials said anything on the topic. The Americans' red line is different than our red line. We must always remember, and learn from history: 'If I am not for myself, who will be for me?' (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14)," he concluded.