Dr Mike Evans

Israeli government approves increased military budget to counter Iran

Israel’s new military budget of NIS 5 billion ($1.5 b) is designed to prepare the Israel Defense Forces for action against Iran’s nuclear plans. The increase largely noted “operational plans,” avoiding specific details.

Last month, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi revealed that “a significant chunk of the boost to the defense budget, as was recently agreed, was intended for this purpose. It’s a very complicated job, with much more intelligence, much more operational capabilities, much more armaments. We’re working on all these things.”

The Israeli government has ramped up its warnings against Iran in recent weeks. Avoiding a nuclear Iran was the key point of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s first meeting with US President Joe Biden last month. Bennett also concentrated on Iran in his recent speech to the UN General Assembly.

While the US has continued to call Iran to diplomacy, all options remain open. While the other options have not been explained, it is clearly understood that Israel reserves the right to use force to defend itself against Iran’s ongoing race to a nuke.

The increased efforts of the other signatories to the Abraham Accords also appear motivated in part to counter Iran’s efforts. As the nations surrounding Iran develop increased ties in economics, tourism, and other areas of normalization, discussions to protect against threats from Iran continue.

Meanwhile, Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami reportedly spoke of “great victories” in the region, citing the controversial US withdrawal from Afghanistan as a sign of weakening.

In the same report, Talal Naji, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, claimed Hamas has increased its successes against Israel, citing the 11-day Gaza War in May.

The “alternative reality” of imagined victories influencing Iran’s leaders and proxies continues, despite calls to negotiate a new nuclear deal. Israel’s potential reality of making a preemptive strike to thwart Iran’s goals of its destruction and achieving regional dominance through nuclear blackmail is a last resort, although signs point that it may become necessary, as Iran’s leaders refuse to consider peaceful options.