Monday, April 07, 2008

Ben-Eliezer: If Iran attacks, Israel will destroy it

Any Iranian attack on Israel would lead to fierce retaliation resulting in "the destruction of Iran," Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said Monday.

Ben-Eliezer, a former defense minister, was speaking during a visit to the Infrastructure Ministry war room, which is being prepared as part of the civil defense drill .

"The Iranians won't rush to attack Israel, because they understand the significance such action would have and are well aware of our strength," added Ben-Eliezer. "However, Iran continues to aggravate the situation by supplying arms to Syria and Hezbollah, and we must deal with this."

The minister said the civil defense exercise "is not a meaningless spectacle or a fictional scenario. The future reality is likely to be a few times harsher than that which we recognize now. We are confronted with a situation where the home front becomes the front line."

"In a future war, it will be much safer to live in [the northern towns of] Nahariya and Shlomi instead of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, since I expect that in the opening attack hundreds of missiles will strike Israel. There will be no place in the country which is not within range of Syria and Hezbollah's rocketsm," Ben-Eliezer added.

Israel and the United States are concerned that North Korea has provided Iran with nuclear know-how and they are seeking to pressure Pyongyang to cease its nuclear cooperation with Tehran.

This is one of the motives behind Jerusalem and Washington's agreement to disclose details on the Israel Air Force strike on Syria last September. According to foreign press reports, the strike targeted a nuclear installation built with North Korean assistance.

By Barak Ravid and Haaretz Service