Israel will never rely on other countries for its defense, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, warning Iran that it would not ignore its threats of destruction.
Netanyahu, who spoke at the Hall of Remembrance on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem during the state memorial ceremony for the fallen soldiers of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, said that the lessons of the war made it clear that Israel could not afford to sit idly by as dangers amplify.
“The current focus of aggression in the Middle East is the Iranian regime in Tehran. Iran is striving to tighten its grip in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Gaza Strip,” he said. “It is relentlessly arming itself. It is equipping its proxies with dangerous weaponry. It is attacking freedom of navigation in international shipping lanes. It downed a large American UAV. It mounted a crude and unprecedented attack on Saudi oil fields. It has repeatedly crossed its threshold of brazenness.”
Netanyahu said Israel was unique in that it had to deal with a major Islamic country actively calling for its annihilation.
“Iran threatens to wipe us off the map. It says explicitly: ‘Israel will disappear.’ It has tried to attack us repeatedly; therefore, we must stand ready to defend ourselves against danger,” warned the prime minister.
He added that while Israel was tremendously grateful to get strong support from the United States, it must focus on its own capabilities.
“We do not aspire to be ‘a people who dwell alone,’ but we were forced to do so at the start of the Yom Kippur War; only towards the end did the American aid arrive. Like in 1973, today we very much appreciate the important support of the U.S., which has greatly increased in recent years, as well as the major economic pressure that the U.S. is using on Iran,” Netanyahu said, noting that “we will always remember and implement the basic rule that has guided us: Israel will defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”
“The IDF is prepared to preempt any threat, defensively and offensively, with crushing strength in weaponry and in spirit. This is the tremendous spirit that was instilled in us by the generation of the Yom Kippur War.”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.