An Israeli general issued a warning to Iran in an interview with the Bahraini newspaper Al-Ayam on Sunday saying that if a diplomatic solution does not prevent the regime from acquiring nuclear weapons, Israel will act.
In a first-ever interview by an Israeli military official with a Bahraini newspaper, Major General Tal Kalman stressed that Israeli authorities are “preparing for other scenarios” if diplomatic negotiations fail, a barely veiled reference to Israel’s military option to potentially strike Iran’s nuclear sites.
“Part of my job is building Israeli plans and capabilities for a conflict with Iran. We don’t want conflict, we don’t want war. We want to resolve this issue diplomatically,” Kalman said. “But when you have in front of you a side that is aggressive, which is building military capabilities, we have to be preparing for other scenarios.”
Echoing the sentiments of Israel’s political leadership, Kalman said Iran is not merely an Israeli problem, but constitutes a threat to regional and global security. The Israeli general also warned that nuclear weapons in the hands of the ayatollahs would spark a dangerous nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East, making the volatile region even more dangerous and unpredictable.
“There would be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East because other countries would also want to obtain an atomic weapon,” Kalman said.
In an interview with the Israel Hayom daily in March, Kalman stated that the Jewish state has built the necessary capabilities to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, should it become necessary to do so in the future. Kalman stressed that despite many challenges, Israel has built considerable military operational capabilities in confronting the Iranian threat.
“The answer is yes. When we build these capabilities, we build them to be operational. It’s not that there aren't many strategic dilemmas, since the day after Iran can go back to the plan, but the ability exists. Definitely,” Kalman told Israel Hayom.
In the interview with the Bahraini paper, Kalman praised the Arab-Israeli Abraham Accords and stressed that Israel no longer feels alone and isolated in the Middle East.
“If in the past, Israel relied on the principle that we must defend ourselves by ourselves, now we have changed our strategy in order to cooperate with our partners because we have partners in the region,” the Israeli general told the paper.
Looking further ahead, Kalman expressed hope that the Jewish state would eventually expand its network of Middle Eastern allies to include countries such as Qatar, Oman and the regional superpower Saudi Arabia, which currently maintains covert ties with Jerusalem.
The Israeli military appears to have the full backing of Israel’s political leadership. In an interview published in The Sunday Times, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett outlined his view of the increasingly open confrontation between Israel and Iran.
“We are engaged in a Cold War with Iran. We will do all that it takes to neutralize the threat,” Bennett told the British paper.
The prime minister said the Jewish state was currently investing large sums in its military capabilities to confront the Iranian nuclear threat.
“We will work against them, using all our energy, all our innovation and technology and economy to get to a point where we are a number of steps ahead,” Bennett said.
Israel reportedly recently approved a whopping $1.5 billion budget specifically earmarked for upgrading the Israeli Air Force’s capabilities for a potential strike on the ayatollah regime’s nuclear sites.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.