Amos Gilad, Director of the Defense Ministry’s Political-Military Affairs Department, spoke on Wednesday at the 2016 Herzliya Conference, warning that the Iranian regime represented the greatest threat to Israel’s security.
In his address, Gilad rejected calls for efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East, arguing instead that for the moment, stability must be the priority.
“We need to emphasize stability over ideas about bringing democracy to the region,” said Gilad. “You can’t force your culture onto other peoples. Look at Libya, a country that had a regime which was developing nuclear weapons and supported terror. At the end it dismantled its nuclear weapons program, ceased its support for terror, and prevented the mass migration to Europe. After it was overthrown, how does Libya look now? There is no future.”
Gilad also pointed out that while Iran current represents the greatest security threat for Israel, the danger posed by the Shi’ite regime could grow significantly.
“The Iranian threat has the potential to become existential. The Iranians agreed to delay their nuclear weapons program by 10 years. The infrastructure is there and there is a debate whether the regime has become more moderate or not. I tend to think that it hasn’t, so long as Khamenei is the [spiritual] leader.”
Rather than move towards regional reconciliation, says Gilad, Iran has used the nuclear deal to fund a massive expansion of its missile program.
“Under the cover of the deal they’re developing surface-to-surface missile capabilities in Iran and Hezbollah [controlled territory in Lebanon]. In Lebanon there are now more than 100,000 rockets pointed towards Israel. They’ve identified that front [with Israel] as a vulnerable point.”