Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin is satisfied with the security-related calm in Israel.
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies on Tuesday morning, Yadlin said that "not one soldier or Israeli citizen was killed in acts of terror in the winter of 2009, a phenomenon which we have not seen in the past decades"
According to Yadlin, the calm is the result of a combination of two factors: The Israeli deterrence and the price claimed from Hezbollah
during the Second Lebanon War
and from Hamas
during Operation Cast Lead.
"The deterrence is strong, but it's hard to predict its strength in the future," he said.
The intelligence chief explained that "the enemy today has profit and loss considerations between the benefit of hurting us and his readiness to take risks. However, the calm must not only depend on deterrence.
"The fronts are relaxed also because the enemies are taking advantage of the calm and are busy rearming day and night. Syria,
and Hezbollah have the ability to threaten the Tel Aviv Metropolitan area with fire. Our enemies are not resting for a moment."
Yadlin criticized the openness in which the Israeli society discusses its abilities, saying that "by discussing the weak and strong points, we are giving the radical axis' learning abilities a significant disadvantage, and therefore we must balance it with counter-learning."
As for the diplomatic level, the military intelligence chief said Israel was facing a challenge of two Palestinian entities. "A new idea is developing there, one-sided progress. We are not talking about a unilateral declaration of a state, but about an approach saying that if we cannot reach an agreement with Israel, our ideas must be imposed on it before the negotiations."
According to Yadlin, "This can be compared to the Syrian model, in which Israel is required to agree to an agreement before the negotiations and not at their conclusion. There are additional efforts like moves in international courts and the implementation of the Goldstone Report,
which convince the Palestinians that they could reach a solution without talking to Israel."
Referring to Israel's legitimacy among the international community, Yadlin noted that the world always likes to stand by the weak side. "The fact that Israel has not been suffering from acts of terror recently causes the world to support the other side," he said.
Another example for the deterioration in the balance of legitimacy, he said, is the improvement in Syria's status. "Every week, (Syrian President Bashar) Assad
hosts foreign ministers from Europe and Congress members who thank him for not interfering in the elections in Lebanon, but those familiar with intelligence know that Assad interfered with money and threats. While he hosts those Congress members through the front door, (Hamas politburo chief) Khaled Mashaal and others sneak in through the back door."
Turning his attention to Iran's nuclear aspirations, he said that the Islamic republic "is pushing its nuclear program forward with a measured and sophisticated strategy, and had built a variety of nuclear infrastructures. It has spread its nuclear plan in a variety of sites – open and secret, civilian and military.
"The Qom site should serve as a warning sign to those who thought that the plan is a civilian one for energy purposes. In 2009, (Iran) accumulated enough material for an entire bomb."
Addressing the internal situation in Iran, Yadlin said that "the bad news is that the Iranian regime has managed to stop the protest for now." According to the intelligence chief, "This protest does not have a classic leadership which is capable of collapsing regimes, as leaders of the protest movements are still the regime's own flesh and blood."
The good news, he said, is that "rifts have been created in Iran and the regime's claim that it is an exemplary regime has been shattered." He stressed that "after the forged elections and the oppression of the protests, the narrative of a pure revolution has no more buyers."
Yadlin concluded his remarks by saying that "our enemies are challenging the IDF's supremacy – in the air, in terms of intelligence and accurate weapons – in a defensive and offensive manner, and are trying to threaten our existence. The enemy's abilities are still far from the IDF's abilities, and the challenge is to maintain the gap."
Daniel Edeslon contributed to this report