Israel: Iran evacuates forces from Syria

Outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has declared that Iran’s apparent scaling back of activity in Syria should be finalized with Jerusalem’s help.

“Iran is significantly reducing the scope of its forces in Syria and even evacuating a number bases,” said Bennett during an official ceremony at which he formerly transferred the reins of the country’s security establishment to Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz. “Iran may have begun the withdrawal process from Syria, but we need to complete the work – it’s in reach,” said Bennett.

Turning to his successor, Bennett urged Gantz to keep the pressure on the forces of the Islamic Republic in Syria until the last of its troops departs – one way or another. “Benny, I am passing you the baton at a time Israel is in a good and stable security situation that is especially quiet, and Iran has begun a withdrawal process from Syria,” he said, underscoring “But if we even for a moment ease off on our momentum of pressure and attack on them – this could all be immediately reversed.”

The nation’s newest Defense Chief, who formerly served as the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, reassured his predecessor that the Jewish State will not be complacent under his watch.

Israel’s borders are safe, yet unstable,” observed Lt. Gen. (res) Gantz. “Around us, a raging storm (double meaning: old Israeli military song) and we – together with all of our defense bodies – will continue to safeguard the security of Israel’s citizens by air, sea, land and cyber; anywhere the need arises,” he said.

Gantz vowed that the national defense establishment “will protect Israel’s citizens from threats, both far and near. We will face threats that are regarded as a ticking time bomb, and we will also neutralize those that are growing their roots (entrenching) along our borders, and elsewhere. We will locate them, uproot them and annihilate them.”

In keeping with his dual role as Alternate Prime Minister, Gantz went on to highlight his commitment to “strive toward peace” by means of political solutions with Israel’s neighbors – in accordance with the peace plan presented by the United States, which he advocated should fully embraced by Jerusalem.

“As someone who also acts in the political dimension, I am committed to do everything possible to advance political arrangements and strive for peace,” said the Blue and White party leader, emphasizing that “Peace was and remains an important Zionist aspiration. Alongside this, and for this purpose, we will continue to empower ourselves to seize regional opportunities in general and to advance the U.S. government’s peace plan and President Donald Trump for all that it imports, in particular.”