Moshe Kahlon
Moshe Kahlon Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that the Treasury would fully support the government's efforts to combat Iran's attempt to establish a permanent military presence in Syria which could threaten Israel.

Kahlon told Yediot Aharonot Thursday: "Several months ago, the defense minister asked for an extra 150 million shekels to fortify public facilities in the north. We transferred the money. I said to the Defense Ministry and to the chief of staff, 'If you're missing any money, we'll add more. We'll sit down, hold discussions and look into it. If it's true, we'll give you the money."

He added that the Treasury would transfer any funds necessary for the defense of the nation "according to the Defense Ministry and army's demand. Let them work, let them do whatever it takes. They have our support. If they need more, we'll transfer more."

Kahlon said that he fully supports the government's decision act preemptively to prevent the Iranian build-up in Syria, and that in doing so Israel had learned from the mistakes of the past. He recalled the first time he had seen a report as a Cabinet member on the arsenal of missiles Hezbollah had built up in Lebanon. "I said to myself, 'Where were we this entire time? How did we let this happen?"

Kahlon addressed the exchange of fire between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria last night.

"'We'll do whatever we have to do to kick them out of there," he said.

Kahlon conveyed a simple message to Iran's leaders. "Go home. You have nothing to do in Syria, especially when you target Israel."

Iranian forces stationed in Syria fired 20 rockets at Israeli territory Wednesday night. Four of the projectiles were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, while the remaining rockets fell short and landed within Syrian territory.

In response, the Israeli Air Force struck roughly a dozen Iranian and Assad regime targets inside Syria. Russian sources claimed 28 Israeli aircraft fired 60 missiles at the targets in Syria, killing 23 people, including 18 Iranians and 5 Syrian soldiers. Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated Thursday that the majority of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria was destroyed in the strikes.

Tensions have recently risen between Israel and Iran over Iran's military build-up in Syria. The IDF announced this week that it was preparing for an Iranian assault on Israel's northern border in retaliation for a strike on the T-4 military base in Syria last month in which a number of Iranian soldiers were killed.

On Tuesday, the IDF asked authorities in the Golan Heights to open and prepare missile shelters over "irregular activity by Iranian forces in Syria", across the demarcation line. The order was later rescinded.