Outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told a graduating class of Israeli Air Force Pilots that they might be bombing Iran in “two or three years” as Israel has been preparing for strikes on the country.
“Israel has significantly increased its preparedness in recent years and is preparing for the possibility of an attack on Iran,” Gantz said, according to The Times of Israel. “You may cross the sky to the east in two or three years and take part in an attack on nuclear sites in Iran, for which we are preparing.”
The speech was likely Gantz’s last as defense minister as the government of incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to be sworn in on Thursday, but the threats against Iran will continue. Netanyahu has tapped a member of his Likud party and major Iran hawk, Tzachi Hanegbi, to lead Israel’s National Security Council.
In recent years, Hanegbi repeatedly threatened Iran, including in November, when he said Netanyahu would likely order attacks on the country if the US doesn’t reach a stricter nuclear deal.
Other members of the outgoing government addressed the Israeli pilots on Wednesday and made threatening comments about Iran, including Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who mentioned recent US-Israeli military drills that simulated attacks on Iran.
“Two weeks ago we held a large-scale joint exercise with the US Air Force. The exercise, which simulated an attack thousands of kilometers from Israel’s borders, was the first of a series of planned exercises in the near future,” Lapid said.
President Isaac Herzog told the pilots that the Israeli Air Force could reach Iran. “It can reach any site, near or far, at any time and by any means we choose. Our enemies also understand this. Yes — including in Iran,” he said.
Israel frequently bombs Syria and occasionally attacks Lebanon, and Gantz alluded to the fact that the pilots will likely be targeting these countries. “Others of you may have to fly deep into territory in Lebanon and Syria or head out on missions to rescue Jews around the world,” he said.