Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the Golan Heights region on Wednesday morning and observed an exercise conducted by the Golani Brigade. "We must have the will to break the enemy and instill within it – at the moment of truth – the fear of death," he said, adding that "This is how you win a battle, and if they test us, we will know how to defeat them."
- PM in Golan: We'll win by instilling fear of death in enemy
- Dagan: 'Unique' opportunity for new regional alliances
- Op-ed: Assad must not win
In response, Dagan said Wednesday afternoon that "Threatening Assad is, in my opinion, a little problematic. He has, in my view, a legitimate claim to retaliating against us."
Dagan added that "Assad will not engage in war, but if put in a corner, he is likely to fire at us. We mustn’t bring about a situation in which his honor is hurt. There is no need to make threats."
The former Mossad chief began his statement by answering Netanyahu's comments about the need for an Israeli response if and when Assad attacks, saying: "If you want to shoot – shoot, don't talk".
Dagan spoke to a group in Tel Aviv University, and also commented on reports that Russia has decided to withdraw their troops from Syria.
"The Russians haven’t abandoned the Syrians just yet. Lavrov would never make such a statement without first authorizing it with Putin."
Despite the fact that Israel has not chosen sides in the Syrian conflict, Dagan insisted that "it is in our interests that Assad should fall. It would weaken Hezbollah dramatically and damage Iran's standing in the Mideast."
The former Mossad chief also commented on the surprising triumph of moderate candidate Hassan Rohani in the Iranian elections: "My position regarding Iran remains unchanged; I do not see any major significance in Rohani's victory.
"Iran is facing major economical problems; I can only assume Rohani would – in a bid to improve economic conditions – offer concessions to the West. I'm not saying he'll give up on the nuclear program, but I don't see a bomb showing up tomorrow morning. Anyway, they are making progress with a bomb."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop