Former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot argued on Wednesday that there is no existential threat to Israel despite the fact that Iran could be headed towards nuclear capabilities.
Speaking at a conference in honor of former Mossad chief Meir Dagan at the Netanya Academic College, Eizenkot said, "I don’t see any existential threats to the State of Israel," though he added, "We must continue to ensure that Iran does not have atomic capabilities."
"If Iran has a nuclear capability, it will be a nuclear threat. In the summer of 1999, I was appointed secretary to the Prime Minister, and there was a discussion with [then-Mossad chief] Efraim Halevy.And the discussion was centered on one issue - dealing with the Iranian threat.We must continue to ensure that Iran does not have a nuclear capability.The Iranian issue began even before the current Prime Minister."
"We should always be concerned. We need to continue to focus significant energy on preventing significant nuclear capabilities in Iran," said Eizenkot, who argued that the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers "allowed us to divert huge resources to other resources- ground threats, very significant partners for four years in fighting against ISIS, launching a campaign against the Iranian establishment, it allowed us to divert very large resources to resolving a number of security issues of the first tier."
"Over the years, a very significant capability has been built and there is significant activity to thwart and prevent that leads to very great achievements and we must continue to prevent and prepare a credible answer to a rainy day," he added.
On Operation Guardian of the Walls, Eizenkot said that "the Gaza Strip is controlled by an organization with an ideology that is clear and sharp to the State of Israel. Since Hamas took power there have been four big rounds and the reality there is very complex. They managed to fire 4,500 rockets on the State of Israel. What bothered us during 'Protective Edge', the tunnels, were thwarted. But they managed to fire in large-scale at our territory and we saw a very impressive ability in defense and attacking targets."
The former Chief of Staff stated that it was difficult to truly evaluate the success of the operation as the IDF went into it with vague goals.
"When the target is a significant strike and seriously deepening deterrence, it is difficult to quantify the achievement. A large part of the problem is that our policies and our strategy are not sufficiently clear on the Palestinian front in general and on the Gaza front in particular. This just leaves the IDF and Shin Bet to provide a feeling of security," he said.