The Iranian threat to Israel is no longer at work in the shadows—previously engaging Israel in a de facto war via proxies in Lebanon and Gaza—but could now amount to a direct confrontation with the Jewish state.
For decades Iran has strengthened and supported enemies of Israel—namely Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon—as a way to oppose the existence of the Jewish state while increasing Iranian influence in the Muslim world. But now, with an ever-growing Iranian military presence in Syria, there is a likely possibility that conflict between Israel and Iran could come about directly.
The rising tensions began on February 10, 2018, when an Iranian drone carrying explosives penetrated Israeli airspace. Although indirect confrontation between Israel and Iran is no new revelation, this incident is significant because it indicates that Tehran directly initiated the drone attack into Israel; effectively changing engagement tactics they have employed for decades.
The Israeli military responded by shooting down the drone and striking the Syrian T-4 air base from where it was launched, losing an Israeli F-16 jet from Syrian ground fire in the process. Before dawn on April 9, 2018, Israel once again targeted the T-4 complex with a missile raid, attempting to prevent any future Iranian threats. According to an unnamed senior Israeli military official, “It was the first time we [Israel] attacked live Iranian targets.”
Following Israel’s military response, top Iranian officials issued direct threats against the Jewish state. Most notably, the head of Iran’s army, Abdolrahim Mousavi, threatened to “annihilate Israel,” while the general of the Iranian ground forces stated that a date had been set for the destruction of Israel.
With Iranian-backed terrorist groups in Gaza and Lebanon, and the growing Iranian military presence in Syria, Israel is preparing to respond to any potential military action taken by Iran.