Yochanan Visser is an independent journalist/analyst who worked for many years as Middle East correspondent for Western Journalism.com in Arizona and was a frequent publicist for the main Dutch paper De Volkskrant. He authored a book in the Dutch language about the cognitive war against Israel and now lives in Gush Etzion. He writes a twice weekly analysis of current issues for Arutz Sheva
A day after Israel celebrated its 70th birthday the conflict with Iran escalated, as a host of Iranian and Hezbollah leaders threatened the Jewish state with destruction and annihilationvia a two-front missile war which they said would drive the Jews into the sea.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu immediately responded to the new threats and said on Friday that anyone who dared to harm Israel would pay a heavy price.
"We hear threats from Iran, and the Israeli forces are prepared for every possible Iranian move. We will fight whoever tries to harm us. We will not shy away from action against those who threaten our security. They will pay a heavy price," Netanyahu said during a special cabinet meeting in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day.
The deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Gen. Hossein Salami immediately shot back and said that Israel’s military bases are “within range” of Iranian missiles, which would be launched at Israel’s “vital interests.”
"Do not trust your air bases they are within the range of fire. Our fingers are on the trigger and the missiles are ready to launch. The moment the enemy decides to act against us, we will launch them," Salami said.
Tensions between the two countries spiked at the beginning of February when an explosive-laden Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace near the Sheikh Hussein border crossing between Jordan and Israel, in the northern Jordan Valley.
The drone, which apparently was on its way to launch an attack on the nearby Israeli city of Bet Shean, was shot down by an Israeli AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The serious incident was followed by 12 Israeli airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria and marked the first direct confrontation between Israel and Iran.
One of these targets was the T-4 air base near the northern Syrian city of Homs, where Iran was operating its fleet of drones.
The base was again attacked by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) on April 10th - this time to destroy an advanced Iranian air defense system which was installed after the earlier IAF strike on February 10.
Israel and the US military are reportedly working together to stop Iran’s encroachment on Israel’s border with Syria and to counter the Iranian attempt to take over the devastated country.