(TPS) Iran is the major threat facing Israel today, and that threat will only increase as the Islamic State continues to shrink, and Tehran and its proxies will take its place, Herzliya Conference Chairman Maj. Gen. (res) Amos Gilead said Wednesday, as he addressed the annual policy forum.
“The Iranian threat is the central threat [to Israel today]. Iran has an extreme ideology which does not accept Israel’s existence and is dedicated to developing nuclear weapons,” said Gilead, a former director of Political-Military Affairs at the Ministry of Defense and a former head of military intelligence’s research division.
“What is new is that as ISIS shrinks you will not find a Jeffersonian democracy rise in its place, but an alliance made up of Iran, Hezbollastan, [the regime of Syrian President Bashar] Assad, and Russia—which has decided to support this alliance,” Gilead said.
“Iran is the only country with potential existential threat—if it develops nuclear capabilities,” Gilead said. “The only way to ensure that it doesn’t attack is by making sure it doesn’t have these capabilities. If it has nuclear capabilities, our deterrence capabilities become nil.”
Gilead said that Iran is continuing to strengthen itself and that Israel remains its main target. “The Iranian regime has no intention of disappearing and this is Israel’s strategic threat. [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani is not moderate—he has a very scary worldview,” Gilad said. “He’s interested in rebuilding Iran’s economy to achieve nuclear capability. Iran’s economic rehabilitation is very bad for Israel.”
However, Gilead said, regional dynamics were playing in Israel’s favor. “In the current balance of power, the security relationships with the Arab Sunni world are a major asset for Israel. Israel stands at a crossroads and we hold the cards to shaping our own destiny,” he said.
Gilead continued: “Israel’s security situation is the best it has been, but we have no time to make decisions in the future. I don’t remember any period where so much was on balance and the decision was in our hands. We have achieved an amazing and unprecedented relationship with Arab states. It was a previously bad situation but President Al-Sisi has been able to take control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Jordan is our eastern security net. The border with it is protected and impenetrable and this is a huge asset.”