Israel has the capability to strike Iran, Gantz says
Israel's outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a briefing with reporters on Wednesday that Israel has the capability to conduct a military operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Why it matters: Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who replaced Benjamin Netanyahu after more than 12 years in power, said that after he assumed office, he discovered “total neglect” when it came to preparing an Israeli military option against Iran.
- Bennett, Gantz and outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid all said Netanyahu’s belief that former President Trump would order a U.S. strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities and the fact that Netanyahu didn’t pass a budget out of his own political considerations led to a gap in the Israeli military's preparedness.
- In interviews with U.S. media outlets during the campaign, Netanyahu said Israel and the U.S. need to put a credible military option against Iran on the table.
Driving the news: One of the main issues the outgoing government focused on in its 18 months in power was re-establishing the Israeli military capability to conduct airstrikes in Iran.
- The government allocated billions of dollars for the training and acquisition of munitions and directed the IDF to redraw strike plans.
What they're saying: "Israel has the capability to operate in Iran and we must continue strengthening it," Gantz told reporters.
- "We achieved preparedness, we have (more) capabilities we are developing and we have long-term processes I don’t want to elaborate on," he added.
- "We need to prepare this option and it will have to be considered very carefully before any decision is made."
What’s next: Gantz said the last time the Israeli government was as prepared for a military strike against Iran was in 2012 when he served as chief of staff.
- "At the time, it was decided by the same person who is expected to become prime minister soon not to do it. I think that in this context Netanyahu will act with judgment," he said.