Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures while speaking at the American Enterprise Institute's (AEI) Annual Dinner in Washington. (AP/Cliff Owen) (AP/Cliff Owen)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu


PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at the AEI event in Washington Monday night. (Haim Zach / GPO)

Netanyahu warned Putin in September that Israel would respond with force to any Iranian threats based in Syria, despite a Russian military presence there, the Israeli leader told supporters in Washington.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin in September that the IDF would respond “strongly” to any Iranian effort to establish an offensive passageway on Syria’s border with Israel, the Israeli leader said in an address Monday night to the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

Israel’s main priority is defense, Netanyahu told the 2,000 gala attendees at the National Building Museum, where he was honored with the Institute’s highest award, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Netanyahu met that morning with US President Barack Obama, where, during the friendly encounter, he requested an increase in defense aid, from $3 billion to $5 billion a year between 2017 and 2027.

The funding needed from Washington for Israeli defense is minimal compared to the cost of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Netanyahu told the crowd.