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Defense Chief: Israel Preparing for the “Main Goal”

May 24, 2023

by: Kate Norman

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IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi with IDF soldiers during a military exercise

Wednesday, 24 May 2023 | Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned yesterday that the recent fighting with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza is a blip on the radar compared to what Israel is preparing for, hinting toward Iran.

During a tour of the Hatzor air base in central Israel and the Gaza border Tuesday, Gallant praised the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF’s) performance during Operation Shield and Arrow earlier this month.

“But the main goal, for which we are preparing, is more complex, more difficult, and more significant,” the defense minister said, as quoted by the Times of Israel. “You need to be prepared at any moment.”

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi issued his own warnings yesterday while addressing a Herzliya conference hosted by Reichman University’s Institute for Policy and Strategy.

“Iran has progressed in recent years with enriching uranium more than ever before,” Halevi told the conference, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post. “We are looking closely at the various arenas that are part of the path to nuclear capabilities. There are negative potential trends on the horizon that could lead to [us] acting. We have the capabilities.”

The IDF chief added that Israel has “the capability to strike Iran. We are not aloof to what Iran is trying to do around us. Iran also cannot be aloof to what we can do against it.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed Iran yesterday during a tour of an IDF intelligence base. Netanyahu was briefed on “the efforts being made in various fields regarding the Iranian threat,” according to a statement by his office, as well as counterterrorism efforts in Judea and Samaria and military intelligence efforts during Operation Shield and Arrow earlier this month.

Netanyahu stated that he left the base “very encouraged. Israel has opened a gap against all of our enemies, and it has done so with a combination of human intelligence and artificial intelligence.

“What I saw here is that the future is already here today,” the prime minister continued. “So let all of our enemies know: We are far ahead of you.”

The bevy of warnings from Israel’s top brass yesterday came a day after the Associated Press reported Iranian construction of an underground facility at its Natanz nuclear site based on satellite images the news outlet had analyzed.

The underground site is estimated to be deep enough to put it out of reach of the American “bunker buster” bomb, the GBU-57, which the US military said can burrow some 200 feet (60 m.) underground before exploding.

The new site being built at Natanz, however, is estimated to be between 260 feet (80 m.) and 328 feet (100 m.) underground.

Washington has discussed using two of the bunker busters in quick succession, the AP reported, though it is unclear whether that would be enough to destroy a site that deep.

Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi addressed the underground site at the conference yesterday.

“Of course, it limits the ability to attack, but there is no place that can’t be reached,” Hanegbi told the conference.

Posted on May 24, 2023

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 24, 2023)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit/

Photo License: Wikimedia

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