On January 16th 2016, after only a decade, the sanctions and embargo from Iran were lifted. The villain has returned, and let me tell you why. In the past decade, while enduring harsh sanctions on its economy, oil, weapon industry etc., Iran has continued to support global terrorism, and to threaten its neighbors in the region (including Israel, as well as multiple Arab states). On September 30, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, continued to voice his threats against Saudi Arabia, calling for harsh retaliations following the Hajj stampede in Mecca. A month later, on October 31 2015, Bahrain’s foreign minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, said that Iran is a threat to Arabs just as much as the Islamic State is.
Now, with all due respect to the disputes between Iran and its Arab neighbors, Iran has been threatening the very existence of Israel for years. Many examples can be found in the declarations of Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; on September 24 2012, at the UN headquarters in New York, he declared that “Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be eliminated”. We needn’t go back even that far; In September 11 2015, Khamenei declared that Israel won’t exist in 25 years.
On August 2015, I participated in a delegation to Berlin and London, with the goal of explaining Israel’s causes to different Parliament members and representatives of various organizations. In Berlin, we met with the Ambassador of Jewish affairs in Germany. I asked him why Germany supports the nuclear deal with Iran, if they know that once the sanctions are lifted, millions of dollars will be transferred to the terrorist organizations (such as Hezbollah and Hamas) and to vicious tyrannies (such as the Assad Regime). His answer was that they hope that once Iran’s economy and status will improve, they will turn to a different path.
Now let me explain why I, a resident of Southern Israel, cannot accept the answer: “we hope”. My home in Israel is about 50 km from the Gaza Strip, and my close relatives are about 1-3 km from it. Over the past 14 years, more than 20 thousand rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, putting my loved ones and me at risk. Anyone who did not grow up here, or at least spend some time living in this environment, cannot, and I will repeat, cannot, understand why we are reluctant and worried about losing the strategic upper hand. On top of Hamas, Hezbollah – Iran’s beloved proxy, strives for the day they will invade northern Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. The atrocities that are occurring in Syria and Iraq (and in which Iran is involved deeply) are only making this more urgent matter.
This is why we cannot accept the term “hope”. Perhaps this agreement will prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear weapon for the next decade, but it is still not enough. The millions of dollars that Iran will receive will go directly to its terror proxies, and the distance between that and rockets fired onto me and my people, is not far at all.
Iran is the only country in the world that directly and blatantly threatens Israel on a regular basis, and the world is surprised that many Israelis oppose the nuclear agreement? In response to lifting the sanctions, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, stated that the only one who is unhappy with the situation is Israel. Are you surprised? Israel is the only country in the world that has its existence perpetually threatened! Give me a break.