The Commander of the Israel Air Force, Major General Eliezer Shkedi, said in a television interview that "in Nazi Germany, people didn't believe that Hitler meant what he was saying. I suggest that we refrain from repeating that line of reasoning and prepare ourselves for anything."

Shkedi made these remarks in a special interview with "60 Minutes" in honor of Israel's 60th anniversary, excerpts of which aired on Channel 2 television Sunday.

Shkedi was asked in the interview about the nature of the threat posed by Iran and the commander answered that "this is a very serious threat, to Israel, but more importantly, to the entire world." He explained that he was referring to "what they [Iran] think of Israel ? the desire to destroy and wipe it off the map."

Shkedi is expected to conclude his term as the IAF commander and retire from the Israel Defense Forces soon, after 33 years of service. A large portion of his service was dedicated to the preparation for a possible mission that was never discussed in public: an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, should international economic sanctions prove to be fruitless.

According to intelligence forecasts, predicting a nuclear Iran by 2009, the challenge may face the IAF during the term of Shkedi's successor, Major General Ido Nehushtan.