Jerusalem (AFP) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday warned Iran not to test Israel’s resolve, in a speech marking the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Speaking at a ceremony at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, the Israeli premier spoke of the murderous Nazi aggression that was not sufficiently challenged by Western powers.
“Today, too, there’s an extremist regime that’s threatening us, threatening the peace of the entire world,” Netanyahu said of Iran. “That regime explicitly declares that it intends on destroying us, the Jewish state.”
“I have a message to the rulers of Iran -– don’t test Israel’s resolve,” Netanyahu said.
Russia, Syria and Iran accused Israel of an air strike Monday that hit a regime base in Syria, killing 14 Syrian and Iranian personnel.
Israel has refused to comment on the strike.
Israel has acknowledged carrying out dozens of air strikes in Syria since 2013 to stop what it says are advanced arms deliveries to Iran-backed Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group fighting alongside Damascus.
Israel has also repeatedly warned it will not accept its arch-foe Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria.
“We nip the aggression in its bud,” Netanyahu said without specifying. “These aren’t empty words, we back them up with action.”
The Israeli leader also reiterated his stance on the shortcomings of the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, which he believes must be changed.
“Signing the agreement with Iran not only didn’t curb their aggression, it increased it,” he said.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to walk away from the nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions by May 12 unless tough new restrictions are imposed on Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes.
Netanyahu also spoke of the duty to stand up to “evil and aggression” throughout generations, citing recent violent protests on the border with Gaza and the alleged chemical attack carried out by the Syrian regime.