While Israel is concerned that the S-300 missile systems being supplied by Russia to Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria could be used against them, officials see the possibility of the weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah or other hostile entities as a bigger threat to Israel’s security.
There are concerns that the Russian-supplied weaponry could be used against Israel, but officials believe such direct attacks by the Syrian military would be “suicide” and unlikely to happen. More distressing is the possibility that the weapons may be sent to Iran “through Damascus,” thus “[bypassing] the arms embargo on Iran.”
Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Yuval Steinitz said, “We don’t want to get involved in the [Syrian] civil war but will defend ourselves as we always [have].”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Israeli official said he’s convinced Russia won’t care if Israel takes out missiles recently supplied to Syria as long as Russia gets paid for them before Israel acts.
Speaking to The Guardian, the official claimed:
I don’t know how upset the Russians would be if, at some point between payment and the installation of this technology in Damascus by Russian experts, something was done to damage the weaponry. As long as no Russians were hurt and they got paid, I don’t think they would care.