Top-ranking Israeli government officials have allocated 10 billion shekels ($2.89 billion) to the IDF’s operating budget in anticipation of conflict with Iran.
According to Ha’aretz, which cited “senior military officials” and three anonymous Knesset MK’s, the sum will be controlled by the IDF’s treasury in preparation for an attack. The same amount was allotted in 2013 in preparation for a long-range strike on Iran.
The report also stated that the IDF received direct orders from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon over the issue. The Prime Minister’s Office and the IDF Spokesperson’s Office failed to comment on the report.
The large sum of funding comes despite the West’s nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic. Netanyahu has consistently maintained that Iran is attempting to buy time by undergoing negotiations with Western Powers. The prime minister believes that Iran is still attempting to build up its nuclear arsenal and build nuclear weapons.
“Letting Iran enrich uranium would open up the floodgates,” Netanyahu said. “That must not happen. And we will make sure it does not happen.”
Defense Minister Ya’alon, who recently called out the United States for not taking the lead in attacking Iran, said the West is becoming too relaxed when it comes to the Islamic Republic.
“Everyone knows Iran is lying,” Ya’alon said. “But the pampered West is satisfied with postponing conflict [with Iran over the nuclear program].” He added that Iran may have “until next year – or even after this term – but eventually, it will explode.”
Regarding negotiations with Iran and the west, Ya’alon said that the “United States entered into negotiations with them [Iran], and unhappily, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better.”
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz revealed on Wednesday that Israel has already carried out dozens of covert military and intelligence operations in foreign and enemy countries. Speaking to high school students in Israel, Gantz spoke about its recent successful operation intercepting the Klos-C cargo boat filled with advanced weaponry headed towards the Gaza Strip.
“I did not even mention the dozens of secret activities, some of which took place last week, and [some] just as we speak,” he said. “I am talking about close range operations and long-range ones – Iran, and so on. These are not areas that are beyond the IDF’s reach.”
Gantz’s statement, broadcasted by Israel’s Channel 10 News, are a “definitive” recognition that Israel is capable and willing to carry out military action against Iran.
Iranian leaders have made no secret of their desires to destroy Israel and wipe the “Zionist enemy” off the map. Just last week, the Air Force Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps threatened Israel that “we [Iran] can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime’s control with any volume of fire power we want right from here.”
“Islam has given us this wish, capacity and power to destroy the Zionist regime so that our hands will remain on the trigger from 1,400km away for the day when such an incident takes place,” he said.
As part of the interim nuclear agreement with the West, Iran has promised to halt its nuclear program and scale back the types of nuclear activities it conducts. The head of the UN Nuclear Agency reported earlier this month that Iran has only completed about half of what it said it would do.
Iran has rejected all pleas that it shut down its Arak heavy water reactor, which could be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The Islamic Republic’s refusal to shut down Arak has led to further sanctions against the regime as passed by the U.S. Congress.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry admitted to Congress that the Islamic Republic will need to make some tough decisions in the upcoming weeks in order to convince the world that it was carrying through with its abandonment of creating nuclear weapons.
As world power gather in Vienna to finalize details of the nuclear agreement, certain U.S. officials are becoming more vocal in their change of heart in attacking Iran.
Former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Lieutenant General (ret.) William G. “Jerry” Boykin has referred to the interim agreement as a “farce” and called on the U.S. to take preemptive military action against the Islamic Republic.