On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke from Yad Vashem on Holocaust Remembrance Day and had a blunt message for the Iranian regime that has threatened to destroy Israel: “Don’t test the State of Israel’s determination.”
Netanyahu referred to the chemical attack ostensibly launched by Syrian President Bashar Assad last Saturday that prompted Israel’s alleged strike Monday morning on a Syrian air base that left seven Iranians dead. That prompted Iran’s threat to retaliate against Israel. Netanyahu said, “Standing up to evil and aggression is a mission for every generation — no generation is exempt from the task, and woe to the generation that evades it.” Noting the swastika brandished by Palestinians near the Gaza security fence last Friday, Netanyahu said what people learned from the Holocaust is that “murderous evil, when you don’t stand up to it, spreads rapidly and gradually threatens us again.”
Netanyahu’s comments followed a phone conversation he had with President Vladimir Putin; Russia blamed Israel for the strike on the T4 Air Base in Syria near Homs. The Kremlin said Putin “stressed it was fundamentally important to respect Syria’s sovereignty and urged to refrain from any moves that further destabilize the situation in that country and pose a threat to its security.” Netanyahu’s office said he told Putin Israel would not allow the entrenchment of Iran’s military in Syria.
Netanyahu recalled the Munich Agreement of 1938 when the West appeased Nazi Germany, asserting, “They wanted to prevent a war, but their concessions only fanned it, made the damage much worse and brought about the occupation of all of Europe.” He noted the 60 million people killed because of World War II, “including six million of our own people."
Netanyahu continued, “Since the hour of Israel’s independence, Israel will never act in that mistaken manner.” He added, “These are not empty words, we back them with action,” encapsulating his perspective as “firmness against aggression.”
He added, “There are those who delude themselves that, like what happened in Munich, the [nuclear agreement] that was signed with the murderous Iranian regime will stop its aggression. But throughout history we have seen again and again how agreements with these types of regimes are not worth the paper they are written on.”
He had a message for the Iranian people: “Israel is not your enemy, but, rather, the oppressive regime that suppresses you is [the enemy]. When that regime will disappear from the world, and it will disappear in the end, our two ancient peoples — the Jews and the Persians — can again live together in cooperation and friendship."