Benny Gantz
Benny GantzKnesset Channel

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday held a briefing with security attachés from 30 countries, with the participation of the head of the security-policy division at the Ministry of Defense, Brigadier General Dror Shalom and the Director of the Strategic Division in the IDF Iran and Strategy Directorate, Brigadier General Oren Seter.

During the meeting, the Minister of Defense held a strategic review, and in his parting words from the forum, thanked them for strengthening defense and industrial cooperation, in an unprecedented manner in recent years.

On the subject of the war in Ukraine, Gantz said, "Israel stands by Ukraine and condemns the attacks against the civilian population. This war is a reminder that wars are a tangible thing, and that countries have an obligation to build up their strength and be ready to protect their citizens, and to strengthen the cooperation that brings regional and global stability. I held in recent weeks two conversations with my counterpart, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, and we are currently promoting the adaptation and supply of civil alert systems."

Regarding the Iranian threat, he said, "Iran is expanding its aggressive actions in many countries in the world - and not only in the Middle East. In the last five years, Iran has attacked more than 16 civilian targets in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Just last month we saw the attack on the ship, near Oman, using a Shahed 136 type drone launched from Chah Bahar. This is not the first time that this place has been used to launch drones against civilian targets. Iran infringes on freedom of navigation and endangers stability in this region. Iran also continues to try and establish itself in Syria and in particular in the Golan Heights - and Israel will not allow Iranian bases to be established within its borders. Iran has an interest in instability, and the regime there knows that the less stable the region is, the easier it will be for it to increase internal stability."

"At the same time, Iran is increasing its enrichment capacity and making progress in the nuclear project. We are in a situation where Iran has enough material at a 60% enrichment level to be able to reach a 90% enrichment level and enough material for a bomb in about two weeks."

"In the face of Iranian aggression, we must continue to strengthen the regional cooperation under 'CENTCOM', and in particular the joint drills, the intelligence cooperation, the 'shows of power', and also the exercise of force and firmness against Iranian targets in response to Iranian acts of defiance and aggression. I repeat that Iran is first and foremost a threat to the world and the region, and not just a challenge for Israel."

Gantz noted, "Since the Abraham Accords and Israel's entry into CENTCOM, over 200 partnership meetings have taken place in the region. In the past two years, approximately 140 security agreements have been signed between Israel and other countries, including ground-breaking MOU agreements."

On the Palestinian Arab issue, he said: "We have carried out dozens of confidence-building moves in the past two years, the purpose of which was to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and improve the situation. Unfortunately, we are seeing governance problems and terrorist attacks that require extensive actions from us. We are trying to target them, but we will not hesitate to act to remove any threat to Israeli citizens."

"The international community must not only condemn the terrorism emanating from Judea and Samaria, but also act actively to pressure the actors into curbing it while strengthening the civilian elements in the Palestinian Authority through various projects. Just last week, we were on the verge of an operation to return the body of the late Tiran Fero. The terrorist gangs that carried out this operation are also harming the Palestinian residents themselves, and Israel will continue to act against them."