Asharq Al-Awsat – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stressed that Israel has continued “to act” to stop Tehran from gaining influence in Syria and Lebanon.
“This is my first visit here at the General Staff as the prime minister and defense minister,” Netanyahu said Friday as he convened his first meeting with the Israeli army leadership in Tel Aviv since announcing that he will replace Avigdor Lieberman, who has resigned as defense minister.
“In the first arena, Gaza, we are ready to act and do everything necessary to protect the security of the residents of the area and the south,” added the prime minister.
“The second arena is Judea and Samaria (the West Bank),” Netanyahu continued. He said the Israeli army and the Shin Bet thwarted about 500 attacks this year.
“This is an opportunity to welcome the last joint action that prevented a very large terrorist attack that was directed by Hamas from Gaza,” he added.
The PM said that the final threat Israel needed to tackle came from “the north, Syria, and Lebanon. We continue to act to prevent Iran’s military buildup in Syria and Hezbollah’s precision weapons project in Lebanon”.
Netanyahu on Thursday named Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir as the next deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army in one of his first acts since he also took on the mantle of defense minister.
Netanyahu “approved the recommendation of the incoming Chief of Staff Gen. Aviv Kochavi and appointed Gen. Eyal Zamir as the deputy chief of staff,” the army said in a statement.
The appointment comes just weeks after Kochavi was chosen for the top military job by Lieberman.
Zamir had also been a candidate for the top position and was thought to be Netanyahu’s preferred candidate.