Gantz: I Stand With Netanyahu Against Iran

Speaking on sidelines of Munich Security Conference, main Netanyahu rival says his government would act to reach sustainable peace

Gantz at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 17, 2019

Benny Gantz, Hosen L'Yisrael chairman and prime ministerial hopeful, said Sunday that he backs Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's approach on Iran and that his government would strive toward peace in the region.

Speaking in a side auditorium at the Munich Security Conference, the former army chief said that while he and Netanyahu are political rivals and disagree on many things, "When Israel's security is under threat, there is no daylight between us. On this critical issue there is no right or left. There is no coalition or opposition."

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Gantz said he stands "shoulder-to-shoulder" with the prime minister in the fight against Iran's aggression and that he is certain Netanyahu "will do the same when I will be the prime minister of Israel."

Regarding the situation on Israel's northern border, Gantz said that the "absurd situation" Lebanon could lead to a war which Israel does not seek, and that it is Europe's duty to prevent this. Those who seek peace, security and stability, he said, must recognize Hezbollah as the terrorist organization that it is. 

Gantz, however, said that under his leadership, "Israel will always reach its hand out to anyone who seeks peace with us."

On a positive note, the former army chief said that "pragmatic Arabs and Israelis are closer than ever before" and that "many in the Arab world have realized that Israel is not part of the problem but part of the solution."

Earlier Sunday, Iran's foreign minister accused Israel of looking for war and warned that its behaviour and that of the United States was increasing the chances of a clash in the region

"The risk (of war) is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law. Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, U.S. behavior is putting international law on the shelf," Zarif said.

Zarif also adressed Iran's military presence in Syria, saying that the Islamic Republic was invited there by the Assad regime for one sole purpose: Fighting terror.

Responding to Zarif, Gantz implored people to not "be deceived by his eloquence. Do not be fooled by his lies. As IDF former Chief of Staff, I saw first-hand precise information regarding what is really happening in Iran. Hence, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the regime Mr. Zarif represents is an evil one."