Israel has a right to use its military to defend itself against regional threats, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday as he continued his diplomatic battle to stop Russian-made arms from flowing into the hands of Israel’s enemies.
“The meaning of independence, in my view, is, first of all, the ability to defend yourself,” Netanyahu before he met with the IDF General Staff.
“To the growing threats around us we have a response, which is found in this room. I rely on you, chief-of-staff, and I rely on the IDF. The people of Israel rely on you.”
Publicly, Netanyahu has linked that threat to Iran, highlighting the dangers posed by the proposed deal to curb its nuclear program, currently under negotiation between Tehran and six world powers. But the Defense News website said Sunday that such threats by Netanyahu could also be aimed at Russian military equipment transferred by Syria or Iran to Hezbollah.
Netanyahu warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about this possibly when the two spoke by telephone last week, according to the website. In the conversation, the prime minister urged Putin to rescind the decision to lift a five-year ban on the sale of the S-300 air defense missile system to Iran.
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