Outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Wednesday that he expects Benjamin Netanyahu, who is the presumed incoming prime minister, to take a “levelheaded” approach to the prospect of attacking Iran.
Gantz’s comments came after Tzachi Hanegbi, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, said that Netanyahu would strike Iran when he took over Israel’s government if the US doesn’t lock in a new nuclear deal. The Israelis are still claiming that Iran is working to build a nuclear weapon even though the US’s new Nuclear Posture Review says that isn’t the case.
Gantz claimed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) now has the capability to attack Iranian nuclear sites but said he believes Netanyahu “will be levelheaded in this regard.”
The IDF has said in recent years that it’s “accelerating” its plans to attack Iran and simulated bombing the country in military exercises it held over the Mediterranean Sea back in May.
“Israel has the ability to act in Iran. We have the readiness, development capabilities, and long-term plans we are managing. We need to prepare for this possibility, and we will also need to consider this issue very carefully before carrying it out,” Gantz said.
While Gantz claims Israel can attack Iran, the IDF lacks the bunker-busting bombs needed to destroy Iranian nuclear sites that have been built deep underground in response to Israeli covert attacks. It’s also not clear if Israeli planes are able to fly to Iran and back.
Israel currently relies on aging tankers for mid-air refueling, which aren’t expected to be capable of supporting attacks on Iran. The US has inked a deal with Israel to sell them four Boeing-made KC-46 refueling planes, but they’re not expected to be delivered until at least 2025.