The Middle East is facing “dramatic instability in the entire region, and we must remain alert and prepared,” Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said today at the annual Herzliya Conference.
Gantz began with the Iranian threat, saying that Iran’s advanced nuclear aspirations have not diminished. “Iran has not relinquished its nuclear vision,” he said.
“I am convinced that Iran must be stopped before it achieves nuclear power, which, in turn, will spark an arms race,” said Gantz. “With the help of the international community, we can make it so that Iran will never get there, be it by use of force or without use of force. Iran must not achieve nuclear power.”
The IDF chief then touched on the civil war in Syria.
“The leadership system in that country is coming apart like a house of cards. As long as [Syrian President Bashar] Assad remains, I don’t see any meaningful solution because the fighting is against him and not for the sake of the future,” he said.
Gantz warned that in Syria there is “a radical axis developing, led by Iran and Hezbollah.”
He also said that he believed Israel would soon “encounter Hezbollah offensives, be it frontally or in the form of widespread combat within Lebanon.”
Gantz also voiced concerns over “dramatic” armament in the Gaza Strip. He spoke of “considerable drama in the scope of mid- and long-range rockets.”
“There are local incidents across Judea and Samaria that could develop into a significant encounter,” he said.
Like Hezbollah, Hamas “understands the price of combat,” Gantz said. He added that to keep such enemies at bay, the IDF needs to adapt.
“We have to maintain our superiority in the sea, on land and in the air, as well as in terms of intelligence,” said Gantz.