As Iran approaches nuclear capacity, Gantz blames Netanyahu

'Netanyahu's outspoken stance damaged Israel's image as a country that enjoys bipartisan support in the United States,' Gantz claims.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Defense Minister Benny Gantz
Defense Minister Benny Gantz
IDF spokesperson

Responding to scathing criticism of Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett from the former premier, MK Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) hit back, accusing Netanyahu of enabling Iran to make significant progress toward acquiring nuclear weapons.

In an article in Israel Hayom on Thursday, Gantz referred to the “iron wall” that Netanyahu had referenced, and said that Netanyahu had failed to understand just what that iron wall should be.

“This ‘iron wall’ that Jabotinsky spoke of was an idea that was ahead of its time, and it shaped the notion of security in Israel, influencing our ideas to this very day,” Gantz said. “Jabotinsky established – and rightly so – that only if we stand firm like an iron wall will our enemies be prepared to reach compromises with us . . . and that’s the situation today, vis-à-vis the rule of the Ayatollahs in Iran. The international community has to stand firm against them like an iron wall, and certainly Israel must do so, too.”

“However,” Gantz continued, “Israel today is not in the same position as the Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel in the 1920s. The iron wall that Jabotinsky wrote of almost 100 years ago expressed the existential fear felt by a small settlement with great dreams. Today, Israel is a strong military power, one that I, as part of the security establishment, am proud of. I served as IDF Chief of Staff, and during that time, we worked on developing a military option against Iran. Today, as Defense Minister, heading the security establishment together with the Prime Minister and other ministers, we head a large, strong, and stable military apparatus. The iron wall that Jabotinsky dreamed of has already come into existence.”

Gantz stressed that, “The nuclear deal that was signed in Vienna in 2015, despite loud and vociferous protest from the Israeli government, exposed the failures of our policy. The lesson to be learned from that was clear and simple – an iron wall has to be built by deeds, not by words.”

According to Gantz, “Deeds means, first and foremost, our ability to protect ourselves and to thwart the actions of our enemies. When Israel has a credible military option, this is to the benefit of the other world powers, and it is essential in order to present an iron wall against Iran and persuade them to come to terms. There isn’t going to be a good, wide-ranging nuclear deal without a credible military option behind it.

“Deeds also mean transfer of intelligence,” Gantz added, “and making sure that we find a receptive ear with our partners and good friends, the Americans. And, we have to ensure that the international community assimilates the idea that Iran is firstly a global and regional problem, and only afterward an Israeli problem – the discussions should start from there.”

Gantz criticized the conduct of Netanyahu, saying, “The former Prime Minister has many merits to his credit with regards to Israel’s security, but the outspoken way with which he dealt with the United States damaged our ability to prevent the Iranians from advancing their nuclear capabilities. In the last few years of his tenure, Iran moved substantially forward with its nuclear program, and Netanyahu’s stance endangered our position in the eyes of the Americans as a country that enjoys bipartisan support.”

“Israel’s security is not something that should be politicized or up for debate,” Gantz stressed. “In this area, we need to see cooperation and responsibility. What I expect from Netanyahu is that he will contribute his experience in this area, and not impede Israel’s efforts.”