Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz
Lt. Gen. Benny GantzIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Newly retired chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz has hinted to Channel 2 that he opposed an Israeli strike on Iran, and that his objections influenced the political echelon to rethink plans to deal a military blow to the Islamic country's nuclear weapons program.

Investigative journalist Ilana Dayan asked Gantz: "Were there junctions at which you stood in recent years, [about] which you can say – 'had I not been there, it would have turned out differently?”

"I think so,” he answered.

Dayan asked: "Can an Israeli prime minister launch a strike in Iran even if his chief of staff opposes it?”

"Yes,” he answered.

The dialogue proceeded:

Dayan: “Even if you thought it is dangerous to Israel?”

Gantz: “If I go into the room and they hear it in the sharpest, clearest, most meaningful way.”

Dayan: “Did they hear it in the sharpest, clearest, most meaningful way?”

Gantz: “What do you mean? Ask them. This thing never reached the stage of 'take off and fly'. It never reached there.”

Dayan: “Because of what they heard from you, among other things?”

Gantz: “I want to believe and think that they listened and took what I said into consideration.”

Israeli media has reported that in 2012, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak were about to order a strike on Iran. The plan was ditched in the face of strong opposition by then-Mossad Head Meir Dagan and the-Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

Reportedly, at one point, Netanyahu and Barak ordered the military placed on war footing, but stpped short of issuing an actual order to launch the strike.