On Monday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett informed the Knesset that the country’s military and other security forces were being re-equipped for the first time in years.
Bennett’s remarks came as the IDF was ramping up preparations for a possible military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, amid growing concerns that ongoing talks in Vienna between world powers and Tehran over curbing the latter’s nuclear program could result in an agreement that Israel finds unacceptable, or no agreement at all.
“We are investing in the IDF’s and the whole defense establishment’s security rearmament.” This was rearmament like we haven’t seen in years, in my opinion. Bennett spoke before the parliament’s influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, saying, “This rearmament is critical to our existence, and I am quite pleased about it and committed to seeing it through fast.”
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Bennett’s administration boosted the defense budget for 2022 to approximately $19.2 billion, with a substantial portion of its intended military engagement plans with Iran, including billions to modernize or buy vehicles, munitions, and other items.
In his remarks at the start of the meeting, Bennett said that Iran was “at the top of our list of challenges.”
“Iran is the head of the octopus that sends enemies and proxies and its tentacles at us, on all of our borders. We are dealing — day and light — with Iran and its proxies. We are making a change, moving to a mindset of constant attack and not just constant defense,” he said.
Israel has been engaged in a long-simmering shadow war with Iran for years, mostly through regular airstrikes on Iranian-linked targets in Syria and en route to Syria, as well as occasional attacks — both physical ones and cyber attacks — on Iranian nuclear facilities, according to foreign reports.
Israel has opposed a return to the 2015 deal, instead of pushing for negotiators to revamp the accord with stricter restraints on Iran and to address malign activity in the region beyond the nuclear portfolio. Officials have threatened that Israel could take military action to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, even without the support of other nations.