For the first time, a high-ranking Israeli official has confirmed publicly that the IDF has thwarted attempts to ship advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Hizbullah.
In an interview on the Saudi news site Elaph, Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold said that Israel had indeed acted to prevent Russian-made SA-22 missiles from reaching the terrorist organization in Lebanon.
It was the first such statement by an Israeli official without resort to anonymity.
“We in Israel did not take sides and did not interfere in the Syrian war,” Gold said. “We have interests that we will protect and red lines. When we saw that there are those who wanted to transfer Russian missiles from Syrian warehouses to Hizbullah, we had to disrupt that activity, and we will not allow it.”
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel does operate militarily in Syria, but Gold was the first to give any details on such operations, which had until now been reported only in the foreign media.
Gold addressed the possibility of rapprochement with Turkey. “There are intensive talks,” Gold said. “There are issues that have been agreed upon and issues that are still under dispute, but things are moving in the right direction. Turkish and Israeli interests converge because of what is happening in the region – economic, security and regional interests, so I don’t believe things will drag on, but we have not set a date for the final agreement. The regional situation leaves us no choice but to agree on the most important points, and our teams are working on this basis.”