Netanyahu to Knesset: Israel Needs ‘Many Billions Immediately’ to Fight Iranian Threat

Netanyahu called Iran an “enormous security challenge” and accused the country of attacking US aircraft and Saudi oil facilities. Iran denies any wrongdoing. Fears of a large-scale military confrontation in the Middle East have grown recently amid ever-increasing tensions between the US and its Gulf allies on one side, and Iran on the other.

Israel must inject billions of shekels into its defence budget to fight a growing threat from Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the newly sworn-in Knesset as he upped the ante in his struggle for a unity government and the future of his prime ministership.

Speaking to lawmakers on Thursday, Netanyahu said that defence spending must increase by “many billions immediately and then many billions every year”.

According to Netanyahu, the rationale behind this is the growing strength of Iran: “We are facing an enormous security challenge, which only intensifies from week to week. It increased profoundly in the last month or two, and, in particular, in the last few weeks. This isn’t spin, it’s not a whim, this is not ‘Netanyahu trying to scare us’”.

On the same day, in an unprecedented move, Iran announced that it had foiled a joint plot by Israeli and Arab security agencies to assassinate Qasem Soleimani, the Revolutionary Guard’s intelligence chief and one of Iran’s most prominent military commanders.

This announcement came as yet another sign of a looming military conflict in the Middle East, where…

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