Generals: War May Come Any Time

Head of Southern Command: quiet on southern front is temporary. MI Head: enemy can hit Tel Aviv. Chief of Staff: we have no illusions.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 9:56 PM

Lieut-Gen Ashkenazi
Lieut-Gen Ashkenazi
Israel news photo

Three of the Israel Defense Force's (IDF) top commanders delivered sobering warnings of the country's vulnerability to attack in public lectures and Chanukah ceremonies.

Maj-Gen Yoav Galant, Head of Southern Command, said in a conference at Ben Gurion University that the recent quiet period on the southern military front would probably prove temporary.

"Whether it is a matter of months or years,” he said, “we see the ill-boding clouds in more than one place. We need to utilize the time that we now have in order to prepare – for war or for smaller threats.”

Good winter so far
"We see the ill-boding clouds in more than one place."

Military Intelligence Chief Maj-Gen Amos Yadlin said Tuesday at a conference held by the Institute for National Security Studies that “Syria, Iran and Hizbullah have the ability to threaten Gush Dan [the greater Tel Aviv area]. Our enemies do not rest for a moment.”

"Even the lecture hall we are in is now under threat of steep-trajectory fire from three different fronts,” he said.    

He added, however, that a peace treaty with Syria would trigger a positive change in the region. “Taking Damascus out of the circle of hostility and ending its support for terror will reduce the threat on Israel,” he explained.

In the winter of 2009, not one Israeli soldier or civilian has been murdered in a terror attack, Yadlin said, noting that this is the first such winter in the past decades. The reason for the quiet, he explained, was a combination of Israeli deterrence and the price paid by Hizbullah in the Second Lebanon War and by Hamas in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

Iran, he said, has made advances in its nuclear project. “In 2009 Iran accumulated enough uranium for building its first bomb at the enrichment facility at Natanz, but at a level of enrichment that is lower than that needed [for a bomb],” he said. 

IDF Chief of Staff Lieut-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi said Monday at a Chanukah candle lighting ceremony that the quiet which followed the Cast Lead campaign, which was launched one year ago, could be broken at any moment. “The situation can change. It can be in these days or in the days to come. We harbor no illusions and we are sober.”