It would be a mistake to dismiss nuclear threats coming out of Tehran as mere saber-rattling, given its stated intention and increasingly overt attempts to annihilate Israel, even at its own potential peril.
By: Ruthie Bloom, JNS.org
Israelis enjoying themselves on the slopes of the Mount Hermon ski resort in the Golan Heights were startled on Sunday afternoon to witness an Iranian missile heading their way. Had it not been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile-defense system, many innocent vacationers, as well as residents in the area, would have been killed.
The surface-to-surface projectile, fired by the Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force in Syria, did not cause the skiers to pack up their gear and run for shelter and hot chocolate, however. After filming the scene on phones and helmet cams, they picked up where they left off. For most Israelis, the rain of enemy rockets is not nearly as novel as mounds of fresh snow.
Disappointment was high, then, when the Israel Defense Forces announced that the popular site, adjacent to the Syrian and Lebanese borders, would be closed on Monday. The IDF was already planning the retaliatory strikes that it carried out late Sunday night against Iranian bases and soldiers stationed near Damascus—a mere 30 miles from Mount Hermon.
On Tuesday morning, the IDF reopened the ski resort to the public, just as a joint U.S.-Israel test of the advanced Arrow 3 missile defense system—designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles—was executed successfully off the Mediterranean coast.
The temporary quiet on the frosty northern border was interrupted by a sharp flare-up in the literally and figuratively blazing south. Following yet another violent Palestinian protest at the Gaza border–during which an Israeli officer was shot, and two terrorists were apprehended crossing the fence into Israel—Israeli Air Force fighter jets bombed a Hamas training camp.
Business as Usual at the UN
Across the ocean in New York, the U.N. Security Council was conducting business as usual, holding a “special session on the Middle East” for the purpose of castigating Israel. Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon tried to remind participants that the real danger to the region lies elsewhere. And that the Jewish state is bearing the brunt.
“The Iranian regime’s obsession with Israel is not just well-known,” said Danon. “It is expensive. Seven billion dollars annually are directed toward the never-ending attempts to destroy Israel. Follow the bloody trail of money starting in Tehran, and you will arrive at the terror tunnels in Lebanon and Gaza and the weapons warehouses in Syria. It is now trying to infiltrate Judea and Samaria.”
Danon continued: “With the help of Saleh Al-Arouri, Hamas’s deputy political chief, and Saeed Izadi, the head of the Palestinian branch of the Iranian Quds Force, Iran is trying to turn Judea and Samaria into a fourth military front against Israel. The world’s silence allows Iran to continue with its operations and aggression to undermine stability in the Middle East.”
Meanwhile, the Iranian regime—weakened by restored U.S. sanctions and the massive unrest of its subjugated populace—is boasting about its military prowess. This is par for the course in Tehran, particularly as the ruling mullahs are marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, which ousted Shah Reza Pahlavi and ushered in Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s reign of terror.
In an interview with Iranian state TV on Tuesday, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, went as far as to flaunt the regime’s nuclear achievements, thanks in large measure to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the nuclear deal signed with world powers in 2015—which, he said, “marinated” Iran’s right to enrich uranium.
The only drawback he mentioned was the fact that “for Europeans, a centrifuge takes eight years from designing to become operational, while the process takes us 10 years.”
Salehi then announced that he would be traveling at the end of the month to Ardakan “to oversee the transport of 30 tons of yellowcake produced … there to [the Uranium Conversion Facility at] Isfahan, [which] means that the Ardakan site has become operational.”
It would be a grave mistake to dismiss Salehi’s words as mere saber-rattling, given the Iranian regime’s stated intention and increasingly overt attempts to annihilate Israel, even at its own potential peril. Rather than looking the other way, at best—or, worse, condemning Israel at international forums—the world should be thanking the Jewish state for doing its dirty work. The inevitable war against Iran should have been fought by America decades ago. Today, it is up to the IDF.
When the snow melts on Mount Hermon, we Israelis will be back in shorts and sandals, heading for the polls this spring to elect the next Knesset. The only question at this point is whether we will be doing so in bomb shelters.
Ruthie Blum is an Israel-based journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’’”