In an exclusive interview with the Jerusalem Post, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz says if Isis (Islamic State) ever plans an attack on Israel, "they will lose outright."
Posed with the question, "do you think the world is overly worried about Islamic State," Gantz replied:
"The IDF has the wherewithal to defend itself against Islamic State...The Americans created a doctrine they call 'shock and awe' by employing a thousand Tomahawk missiles in Iraq. Islamic State is creating its own 'shock and awe' by beheading innocent people. But I believe we are capable of dealing with and containing this threat, and that is exactly what we should do."
When asked about Hezbollah and its stock of attack drones, Gantz says the militant group has plenty of drones through Iran, and while he's not worried about shooting down planes, his forces are preparing for an all out defensive and a possible takeover of Lebanon.
"We are preparing for the next war, which I have spoken of on multiple occasions. The North poses a bigger challenge. It will require a strong home front, a hard fighting battlefront, and national unity, as we saw during Operation Protective Edge, and we will win.
"We will take Lebanon and knock it back 70 or 80 years, in all areas, and we'll see how that plays out. And it could also turn out that we'll need to capture Lebanese territory. There are no surprises here, but rather things we are preparing for, year after year, season after season, staring the challenge in the eyes."
Gantz believes the current allocated defense budget agreed on by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is insufficient to allocate adequate resources, "to train enough, prepare at the borders ... and continue to increase our strength enough to face threats."
Despite billions of dollars being channelled towards defense establishment over education, welfare and health resources, Gantz says the spending is justified in the face of the growing militant groups.
"Our security challenges here are no less complicated, and perhaps even more complicated than they once were. I don't suggest looking solely at the fact that we no longer have traditional standing armies against us. We've seen that all kinds of far off countries send armies to distant places and it could be that one day we'll have to face this as well."
Gantz concluded the interview by urging vigilance on Isis and keeping watchful of the militant group's moves.
"The only thing standing between us and ISIS right now is that they are currently busy with more urgent matters. I suggest we not fall asleep on our watch strategically. I know that there's no chance that the IDF and the defense establishment will get every shekel we ask for. We are not pigs and we're aware of the limitations. But our job is to explain the risks and to provide operational standards, training, and preparedness," said Gantz.