• Netanyahu said to tell his defense chiefs to keep Israel out of Iran-US tensions
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PM said to tell his defense chiefs to keep Israel out of Iran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened urgent consultations with Israel’s security chiefs this week amid the escalating tensions between Iran and the United States, and reportedly urged them to do their utmost to ensure that Israel is not dragged into the fraught situation. At his meeting with the security chiefs, Netanyahu ordered the appropriate precautions be taken to deal with any potential escalation, and also called for ongoing, close intelligence monitoring of the surging tensions between Washington and Tehran, a TV report said Wednesday. But he also told the top officers “to take steps to separate Israel from these developments” and to work “at all cost” to keep Israel out of the situation, Israel’s Channel 13 news reported, citing senior Israeli officials. Despite various threats by Iranian leaders against Israel, the assessment at the meeting was that there is no immediate concern that Israel will be directly targeted — including by rocket fire from pro-Iranian militias in Syria or Iraq, the report said. The Prime Minister’s Office did not deny the report but would not comment on it. US officials told the TV station that Netanyahu and Pompeo are in frequent contact, often about Iran. Iran’s defense minister said earlier Wednesday his country would overpower the US-Israel alliance in the region. “We will defeat the American-Zionist front,” Amir Hatami told a gathering of military intelligence officials on Wednesday, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Tensions in the region have risen sharply in recent weeks as US sanctions on Iran, reimposed gradually in the wake of the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal last year, began to take their toll, pushing the Iranian economy into crisis.
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