President Reuven Rivlin said Monday that he believes Iran will step up its attacks on the north of Israel in retaliation for IAF air strikes on Iranian facilities in Syria.
Speaking at a conference held by the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Rivlin said the Israel’s future strategic situation can be described in two words: “deterioration and complexity,” and gave the case of the Iranian presence in Syria as an example.
“It appeared as though Iran would be restrained by our understandings with Russia and its defeats on the northern front,” Rivlin said referring to recurring IDF airstrikes on Iranian facilities in Syria, “but in recent months the trend is changing.”
“I believe Iran will retaliate with greater force in Israel’s north,” the president said, adding that Iran’s efforts are also apparent in the international diplomatic scene.
“Their trials with ballistic missiles and Tehran’s schemes have created controversy between them and the European Union,” Rivlin said, adding that the issue had come up during his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris last week.
“I feel like the Europeans are beginning to think the same way Israel does about Iran… There is a desire to preserve the nuclear deal while also drawing strict red lines for Iran - and crossing them will come with a heavy price,” said the president.
“Let’s talk about things that can be solved,” said Rivlin, referring to the the conflict with the Palestinians.
“The status quo with the Palestinians doesn’t serve Israel. We need to build trust with them, let’s not talk about 150-year-old conflicts but about the things we can solve… If we reach cross-party understandings (regarding an agreement with the Palestinians) neither side will lose voters over it,” he said.
“An Israel that initiates is an Israel that wins,” the president said.