IDF Chief: Israel Faces Growing Range of Threats, From 'Knife to Nuclear'

IDF chief Gantz says Israel's defense establishment needs a higher budget to contend with the changes in the Middle East and spectrum of threats from a single terror attack to Iran's atomic developments.

The Israel Defense Forces will ask the state to increase its defense budget significantly to contend with the growing terror threats in the region, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said on Tuesday.

"The spectrum of threats in light of the changes in the Middle East is growing," Gantz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "These threats range from knife to nuclear – from the knife used in a single terror attack to a nuclear Iran."

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz

"The threats of the past are still in force, but new threats are developing that require the ability to operate in a number of different theaters with strength and determination," Gantz said, adding that this "new spectrum of threats requires a new and broader budget framework for the defense establishment."

One such threat was the upcoming aid flotilla bound from Turkey to the Gaza Strip, one year after the deadly Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ship. "The flotilla organizers are working to inflame hatred and provocation against Israel and not out of desire to help the population in Gaza."

"There is no humanitarian crisis" in Gaza, Gantz declared. "Every day, hundreds of trucks enter filled with food and materials. The IDF will work to stop any attempt to break through the naval blockade."

The international community has recognized the validity of this blockade, said Gantz, adding that even United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recently defended its legality while blasting the illegality of the aid flotillas.