IDF Chief of Staff:
'The Iranian threat is not theoretical'

IDF Chief of Staff Eizenkot says Iran still aims to achieve nuclear weapons and is trying to harm Israel's security through its proxies.

Ben Ariel ,

Gadi Eizenkot
Gadi Eizenkot
Flash 90

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot stressed on Tuesday that the threat from Iran was real.

Speaking at the annual conference in Eilat of the Yad Lebanim organization, which commemorates fallen soldiers, Eizenkot said, "The Iranian threat is not a theoretical threat."

“There is a vision and a desire to achieve nuclear capability, despite the agreement. In addition, there is an effort to have an effect in Israel through Hezbollah, Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad and great efforts to affect Israel's security,” he continued.

The Chief of Staff further said, "As we begin 2018, we look at a half empty glass. The Middle East is unstable, and if you look at Syria you see destruction and ruins. 700,000 dead, seven million refugees and huge economic damage."

“We face a constant challenge of large-scale proliferation on five fronts: Lebanon, Syria, Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Sinai,” he continued, though he pointed out, “In recent years we have dealt with terror from Sinai and with thousands of infiltrators [who entered through that border]. In 2017, not even one infiltrator came through.”

His comments come as the Israeli political establishment discusses the military developments on the northern border, where Iranian-backed militias which are assisting the Syrian army have pushed deeper into the last rebel-held enclave near a strategic border area with Israel and Lebanon.

A recent ceasefire agreement between the U.S., Russia, and Jordan left Iranian-backed militias just three miles from the Israeli border.

In addition, Iran is reportedly establishing a permanent military base outside El-Kiswah, located 14 kilometers (8 miles) south of Damascus. A recent airstrike attributed to Israel reportedly hit an Iranian compound in that area.

Last summer, the Mossad assessed that the Iranian regime is expanding its control across the Middle East through proxy forces in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.