Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said he would seek a broad and stable coalition to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the possible transfer of Syrian weapons.
“The entire region is raging and we must be prepared, strong, and determined in the face of any possible development,” he told his cabinet ahead of its weekly meeting.
Local media said that the military deployed two Iron Dome missile defence batteries to northern Israel for the first time on Sunday, reflecting growing tension around the border with Syria.
A military official would not confirm to AFP where the batteries were sited but said that moving batteries around was part of routine training.
Netanyahu said that regional tensions were “Why I will strive to form a government as broad and stable as possible, to deal with all the significant security threats facing Israel.”
Netanyahu is expected to be formally tasked by President Shimon Peres in the coming days with forming a coalition, after legislative elections last week in which his joint list won most seats in the parliament.
In his remarks, Netanyahu referred to International Holocaust Day, which is marked on Sunday, and accused Iran’s leaders of “denying the existence of the Holocaust, while preparing what they think will be the next Holocaust — destroying the Jewish state.”
“They are not stopping their incessant and systematic race to obtain nuclear weapons to reach that end,” he said. “We do not take those threats lightly, and will prevent them, this is our first priority as a government and people.”
Netanyahu has frequently warned about the danger of Iran’s nuclear programme of uranium enrichment, which Israel and much of the West believes hides a weapons drive.
He has refused to rule out the option of unilateral military action if all other ways to halt the programme fail.
Israel is itself widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nation with an atomic weapons capability.
The premier on Sunday stressed the need to “look around, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies, what is happening in other arenas with lethal weapons in Syria, which is falling apart.”
According to reports in Israeli media, Netanyahu last Wednesday convened an emergency discussion with the security establishment and his inner cabinet on the situation in Syria and the risk of it losing control over its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.