Speaking on Tuesday morning at a national security conference at the Institute of Policy and Strategy – ISP Herzliya – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stressed that Israel would maintain its freedom of action even if the international community returns to the Iran nuclear deal that was viewed in the past as potentially disastrous.

“After such a long period of investing in pressuring Iran via threats, there is now a need to reflect on what we have achieved and to recalibrate the intense efforts being made,” the Prime Minister said. “Iran now surrounds Israel, and pursuing individual terrorists sent out by the Al-Quds force no longer makes sense – we have to get the people sending them out. We must also exploit our relative advantages (our economic strength, cyber, international legitimacy) against Iran’s vulnerabilities in a far more effective way than was done in the past.”

Bennett also noted that, “We must widen the gap between ourselves and our enemies, each and every one of them, investing in strengthening our capabilities – missiles, cyber, other technologies – and we also have to increase officer pay in the IDF. We have to build up our strengths to the point where our superiority is undeniable and will deter others from challenging us.

“The State of Israel must preserve its freedom of action along with the ability to take action,” he added, “in any situation and in any political circumstance.

“The Iranian regime is decaying – it’s a useless regime, with a weak economy and a corrupt administration,” the Prime Minister continued. “They maintain control only via force and by instilling fear. And they are far weaker than what people believe. Right now, we are at a critical juncture in our prolonged struggle against them – a struggle that is not just Israel against Iran but in fact the entire world against this extremist Islamic regime. We hope very much that the rest of the world will not shrink from this fight, but even if they do, we have no intention of doing so.”

“Complex times now lie ahead, and it is possible that we will have to deal with disagreements with some of our closest allies – but this will not be the first time such a thing has happened,” Bennett stressed. “Even if the nuclear deal is renewed, Israel is not a signatory and will not be restricted by its terms. We are not going to repeat the mistake we made after the first deal was signed in 2015.”