Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu boasted of Israel’s success in countering the “Iranian threat” by targeting Iran-backed Hezbollah, foiling terrorist plots worldwide and impeding Tehran’s weapons access.
Speaking at a Jerusalem business conference on Wednesday, Netanyahu dived into his favorite topic – the imminent threat Iran supposedly poses to the Jewish state’s existence, and offering spirited praise of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
“The IDF is the only army fighting the Iranians in the world and, so far, we have had significant success,” the PM said.
Although Israel’s military is not engaged in any direct confrontation with Iran (yet), it has repeatedly pounded Syria with rocket fire claiming to be targeting pro-Iran militias and Iranian troops. One of their targets is Hezbollah, a Shia militant group backed by the Iranian government.
Israeli officials rarely comment on military operations abroad – but on Wednesday, Netanyahu openly extolled the scope of IDF’s covert efforts.
“We are fighting the branches of Iran, and its offshoot Hezbollah. We are exposing its tunnels and systematically depriving them of all their tunnels, just as we are doing to Hamas in the South by various means,” the PM said.
Israel is hunting – and finding – its arch-enemy far beyond the Middle East, Netanyahu claimed. According to him, the IDF has helped prevent 40 Iranian-linked terrorist attacks worldwide, including several in Europe, and hindered Iran’s access to precision weaponry.
“Therefore the whole world is coming to us,” the Israeli PM concluded.
For the past few years, Netanyahu has been on a non-stop verbal offensive against Iran, accusing the Islamic Republic of developing nuclear weapons in breach of the 2015 arms deal.
Netanyahu, known for his penchant for visual aids, brandished images purporting to show hidden Iranian nuclear sites – an “atomic archive” hidden in a “dilapidated warehouse” and radioactive storage at a rug-cleaning business.
Netanyahu never shies away from leveling threats at Iran and lauding Israel’s own attack capabilities, recently saying that Israel has been developing “offensive missiles” capable of hitting anywhere in the region.
Despite warning the world about Iran’s alleged nuclear menace, Israel has still neither confirmed nor denied the existence of its own atomic weapons program. The Jewish state is not a party to any nuclear non-proliferation treaty, yet various estimates put its nuclear arsenal between 80 and 400 warheads.
When confronted about the existence of an Israeli nuclear program by CNN’s Chris Cuomo in May, Netanyahu dodged the question. The hypocrisy has been called out by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who accused Israel of running a “secret” nuclear weapons program in September and calling on Netanyahu to open the country to inspectors, as was required of Iran.