The National / April 14, 2023
Israeli forces prepare for multiple threats on the last Friday of Ramadan.
Israel “must prepare for war” as Tehran moves ever closer towards nuclear weapons capability, the former head of Israel’s National Security Council has said.
Maj Gen Yaakov Amidror said Israel may have to strike Iran “without American support”, as a result of US’s preoccupation with other issues, and that an operation could be conducted “within the next year.”
His warning on Thursday came as the head of Israel’s defence ministry held talks with US officials on bolstering the Israeli military, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Also on Thursday, the country’s Military Intelligence Directorate told senior officials that Israel was closer to war than a return to calm, according to a report by Israeli news outlet Walla.
Israel has faced a number of internal and external security challenges through the month of Ramadan, a time that has historically seen a rise in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as with Israel’s enemies abroad.
Thirty-six rockets were fired into Israel from Lebanon earlier this month.
Last Friday, two British-Jewish Israeli sisters were killed in the West Bank after a Palestinian gunman fired on a car in which they were travelling. Their mother, who was with them, died three days later.
The same day as the two sisters were killed, an Italian tourist was killed and seven others were injured in a car ramming attack in Tel Aviv.
Today, the last Friday of Ramadan, can be particularly tense. Israeli forces were preparing for multiple threats, including foreign rocket attacks and unrest at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, which is often a flashpoint for violence in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Kan News reported that the military was bolstering its defences and pointing Israel’s sophisticated Iron Dome air defence system in the direction of Syria and Lebanon, an unusual move as it is usually focused on intercepting rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
Last week, the US broke protocol by announcing that it had sent submarines to the region to “help ensure regional maritime security and stability” amid heightened tensions with Iran.
Thomas Helm is Jerusalem correspondent at The National