The consensus in Israel is that Iran-Hizballah tops its threat list, followed by Hamas and ISIS third, two senior Israeli diplomats told a group of visiting Turkish reporters in Jerusalem in a briefing headlined by the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper Saturday.
The fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are on Israel’s borders, in the Sinai and in the Golan Heights. It will not disappear in a year “particularly because it has political roots and due to the absence of a strategy against the jihadist group by the US-led coalition.”
Indicating Israel’s unwillingness to open a new front against ISIL, the diplomats said: “Israel is not going to shape the Middle East,” and noted that the “priorities of Gulf countries have been constantly changing.”
Although ISIS is now stronger militarily that Taliban, “Iran is a bigger problem… with its three layers: The nuclear military project, its massive support for terrorism and its impact on regional stability,” the second diplomat said, highlighting Iran’s outreach in the region. “Under these conditions, threats posed by a terrorist organization like ISIL and a big country like Iran are not comparable for us. Iran is a bigger threat than ISIL,” he said. The Israeli diplomat also maintained that the nuclear deal was offering a lot to the Iranian side while not requiring Tehran to give much in return.
Iran’s regional strategy is another key factor that should encourage and facilitate the normalization of bilateral relations between Turkey and Israel, the Israeli officials said.