On the very day Israel observed Yom Ha’Shoah, remembering the six million Jews murdered by the German Nazis, Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, threatened to “wipe out Haifa and Tel Aviv.” It once again reminded Israelis that they must take such threats seriously given the history of the 20th Century, and the Holocaust in particular. Raisi’s threat must also serve as a reminder to those Israelis protesting in the streets of Tel Aviv and Haifa against Netanyahu’s right-of-center government, using the planned Judicial overhaul as an excuse as to what the real threat to their future is.
Israelis were once again reminded that when it comes to the fate of Jews, the so-called civilized world is dutifully mum. The Biden administration, so mindful of human rights and justice, failed to denounce the Iranian regime’s genocidal threats. The Europeans have similarly ignored it. The G7 foreign ministers issued a statement that dealt with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear development but paid little attention to Raisi’s threat. It stated that, “We reiterate our clear determination that Iran must never develop a nuclear weapon and urge Iran to cease nuclear escalations. We call on Iran to fulfill its legal obligations and political commitments regarding nuclear non-proliferation without further delay.” No mention was made of the threat against Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at Yad V ‘Shem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem on Yom Ha’Shoah, compared the current Iranian Ayatollah regime to Nazi Germany, pointing out that like Hitler’s Germany, Iran today poses an existential threat to Israel. Netanyahu stated that the calls to exterminate the Jewish people have not stopped, and today come from Iran. He stressed the point that Israel must be able to “defend itself by itself against any enemy, any threat.”
While the Iranian threats are taken seriously in Israel, it is far from causing panic. Iran’s mullahs are perceiving weakness in Israel due to the massive demonstrations over the last few months and have been encouraged by the Israeli military reservists’ warning to abstain from their reserve duty. Rumors surfaced last month that the Islamic Republic of Iran might exploit the situation in Israel to launch a multi-pronged attack on Israel using its proxies in Lebanon (Hezbollah), Gaza (Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad), Syria (Shiite militias under Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps command), and Yemen (Houthis) to simultaneously fire missiles into Israeli population centers. That didn’t occur. Hamas, given a green light by Hezbollah, and requested by Iran, lobbed three missiles from Lebanon into Israel’s Galilee. There was no serious damage. The mullahs of Iran prefer to fight Israel with Lebanese, Palestinian, and Arab blood.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei knows that a multi-pronged attack on Israel would amount to a full-scale war. Sustaining the war-between-the-wars is one thing, a full-scale war is not warranted by either Israel or Iran currently. Hezbollah, not wanting to risk its dominating position in Lebanon by incurring massive Israeli retaliation as Israel did in 2006, let Hamas do the ‘dirty work’ so it could exculpate itself.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the Supreme Leader of Iran, are fully aware of Israel’s capabilities to inflict a great deal of pain to their regime. The protests throughout Iran against the theocratic regime of the Ayatollahs have tampered down recently due to the regime’s severe repression against the protesting Iranian people. Still, given a choice, the majority of the Iranian people would prefer a regime change. They resent the corrupt, inefficient, adventurous, and theocratic regime. The Iranian people have been chanting “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon, I sacrifice my life for Iran,” and shouting loudly, “Palestine and Syria, make us miserable, forget Syria, think about us.” They seek a more secular, and democratic government. It isn’t that Iranians want to discard Shiite-Islam altogether, rather they want religious guidance from the likes of the Iraq based Grand Ayatollah Sistani.
In his visit to Israel last month, Reza Pahlavi, eldest son of the last Shah of Iran, and a major Iranian opposition leader, attended the Yom Ha’Shoah observances at Yad V’Shem in Jerusalem, and visited the Western Wall. Pahlavi considers himself an advocate for a secular, and democratic Iran. In his meetings with the press, he said that he wanted the people of Israel to know that ‘the Islamic Republic does not represent the people of Iran’. Pahlavi suggested that the Ayatollahs regime is tottering, and that it is only a matter of time before it falls. He vowed that a new Iran would have a warm relationship with Israel, and a peaceful neighbor to the Arab Gulf states.
Whereas the Biden administration is reluctant to speak of a military option against Iran, Israel has been actively committed to foil Iran’s nuclear development and its nefarious terrorist attempts against Israel and Arab Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia. With reliable intelligence, and ingenuity, Israel has acted inside Iran, and has eliminated major IRGC commanders and operatives, as well as top Iranian nuclear scientists in the heart of Tehran. In the most spectacular operation, Israeli operatives were able to penetrate and haul away one of Iran’s most guarded secrets, its nuclear project archive.
Israelis alone will determine the Jewish states destiny – not Iran, and Israelis are certainly not intimidated by Iran’s genocidal threats. If the Iranians had the ability to do what the Israelis have done in Iran, they would have done it long ago. That is why the Iranians are looking for easy targets to murder Israeli citizens and Jews outside Israel, in places like Istanbul, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Thailand, and other places. Israeli intelligence was able to discover the Iranian plans to send terror squads to these countries, and together with the local authorities, foiled Tehran’s plans.
The Jewish state may have several domestic issues to resolve, but as it is celebrating its 75th birthday, Israel is an unimaginable miracle. To go from the depth of the Holocaust catastrophe to becoming a Middle Eastern regional power, possessing both economic and military prowess is a fantastic feat. Ayatollah Khomeini, and Iran’s former President Ahmadinejad both threatened to ‘wipe Israel off the map’, and the Khamenei regime is truly committed toward this end. Thus far, to use a dog metaphor, they are all bark, but no bite.