Former Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Sunday that US President Donald Trump's newly-appointed national security advisor John Bolton had tried to convince him to attack Iran.
Speaking at a conference hosted by Yediot Aharonot, Mofaz said: "I have known John Bolton since his days as US ambassador to the United Nations - he tried to convince me that Israel must attack in Iran.
"I don't think that it's a wise move, not for the Americans today or for anyone until the threat becomes real," he added.
In 1998, Mofaz became the sixteenth IDF chief of staff, serving until 2002. He then served as minister of defense from 2002 until 2006.
"The Iranian threat is very significant for Israel's security. Iran is already at Israel's borders - in Syria and Lebanon," Mofaz warned. "It's impossible to promise a future to the children of Israel if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon."
John Robert Bolton is an American diplomat and attorney, who is currently the National Security Advisor-designate of the United States. He is expected to begin his tenure as National Security Advisor on April 9, 2018.
Bolton is known to be rabidly opposed to the Iran nuclear deal and is considered a strong friend of Israel. He has also stated that the two-state solution is “dead.”
On Saturday night, right-wing Israeli politicians welcomed the news of the hawkish choice to replace Lt.-Gen. H.R. McMaster, who was seen as a constraining influence within Trump’s inner circle.
Bolton’s appointment sends “an unequivocal message to Iran that the days of the terrible nuclear agreement are coming to an end,” said Kulanu MK and former ambassador to the United States Michael Oren.
“Bolton is known to hate the agreement,” he said.
Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz is an Iranian-born Israeli former soldier and politician. He joined the Israel Defense Forces in 1966 and served in the Paratroopers Brigade.
Sitting alongside Mofaz at the conference were former defense minister Moshe Ya'alon and former IDF chiefs of staff Benny Gantz and Dan Halutz.
Ya'alon emphasized the importance of exhausting non-military options before using force against Iran.
"Leaders in the region have understood that their armies cannot defeat the IDF, and as a result have gone in two directions," said Ya'alon.
"The first is terror, guerrilla, rockets, and missiles; the second is an unconventional threat, particularly nuclear," he added.
"To thwart or to destroy? For as long as possible, obtain achievements without using military force. If there's no choice - it'll be necessary to use force."
The panelists also discussed the likelihood of Israel needing to fight a war this summer, after four years of relative quiet on the country's borders.
"It's the role of the IDF and the political level to delay the next war as much as possible. I think this effort will successfully push back the war and the next round [of fighting] as long as possible," said Ya'alon.
Mofaz underlined the strength of the IDF in suggesting that the next conflict is not imminent.
"In my assessment, there will not be a war in the summer because the IDF is one of the largest and strongest militaries in the world. I think all our enemies nearby know the abilities of the IDF and therefore I don't believe there will be a war," he said.
Gantz, who ended his term as chief of staff in February 2015 soon after Operation Protective Edge, said: "I don't think there needs to be [a war], but there could be."
Former IDF chief of staff Halutz responded: "A war between Jews is certain. With the Arabs - I don't know."
The Jerusalem Post