Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened on Monday that Israel will respond with force against those threatening it. Speaking at an event marking 70 years to the Israel Defense Forces' establishment, Netanyahu said that "Israel's iron fist is clenched" and that "those who harm us – we will harm them."
"Let the enemies that threaten us with destruction know that they will hit an iron wall – and will put themselves in grave danger," he said, without explicitly mentioning Iran.
"Establishing a state did not bring about an end to others' desire to attack us. What it did bring is the ability to fight back against our enemies," Netanyahu said.
"Unlike our enemies, we conduct our struggle with dedication to the purity of arms and a desire to protect the innocent. There is no army more moral than the IDF," the prime minister added.
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President Reuven Rivlin praised that army at the event, saying that "thanks to the IDF we can sleep quietly at night. Thanks to the IDF, we can have routine lives, even during complex days.
"After 70 years, the army has changed but the spirit has stayed the same spirt of professionalism, solidarity, the sanctity of life, purity of arms and human dignity. The IDF is the people's army and must remain that way. Anyone who tries to hit us with force will be met with force. We will continue to fight with resolve at any time that wars moves closer to us," Rivlin said.
Israel braces for Iranian revenge
Israeli defense officials, Haaretz reported Sunday, are bracing for the possibility of an Iranian revenge attack from Syria in the near future, in the form of rocket and missile launches at northern Israel.
Officials believe Iran is determined to retaliate for the April 9 airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran blames Israel for this attack.
Israel has detected unusual involvement by Hezbollah in Iran’s preparations for retaliation, even though the organization has been trying to keep its activity low-profile so as not to affect its position within Lebanon. Aside from Hezbollah commanders, operatives from the Shi’ite militias that Iran funds in Syria have also been active in the preparations.
Israel’s assessment is that Iran seeks to settle its open account with Israel, but wants to do so without sparking a war. One possible solution to this dilemma is trying to fire a limited barrage at military targets in northern Israel. Israel is taking various protective measures against any possible missile fire. Defense sources said Israel’s anti-missile systems are prepared to deal with rocket fire.