In a Far-Ranging Interview with Globes, Israeli Defense Minister Liberman Assesses Israel’s Defense Posture

In the midst of swelling violence on the Gaza border and IDF engagement with Iranian forces in Syria, Lieberman states that “no one here [in Israel] wants escalation, and no one wants to go to war.” Despite this caveat, Liberman highlights Israel’s need to vigilantly maintain its security in the Middle East, “a very violent region [where] – everyone [is] against everyone.” With regard to Gaza clashes, Liberman emphasizes that despite Israel dismantling settlements and fully withdrawing to pre-1967 borders there in 2005, Hamas continues their attacks on Israeli citizens and property. Further, the world community continues to criticize Israel for defending her borders. With Iran, forces of insurgents in Syria, Hezbollah rattling its anger at Israel, and the constant necessity to suppress Hamas violence, Israel’s defense needs are greater than current funding levels. As the next government budget is prepared, Liberman is seeking an NIS 8.3 billion increase in the annual IDF defense budget, almost 10% above the current level of NIS 71 billion.