JERUSALEM (Jan. 14)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan has hinted that Israel is prepared to take major military action against Syria “if the Syrians persist in their aggressive exploits against us.” Israel, he said, must retaliate against Syrian attacks with major operations if Syria is to be stopped. “If we operate against them a little at a time, we shall not succeed in curbing them,” Dayan declared in a television interview over the weekend.
The Defense Minister maintained that there was little likelihood of Egypt involving itself in an Israeli-Syrian confrontation unless President Anwar Sadat found his internal political position so threatened that he required a war to bolster it. Dayan made his remarks against the background of last Monday’s ground and air battles between Israeli and Syrian forces.
Chief of Staff Gen. David Elazar said in an Army radio broadcast Friday that despite every intention Israel had of shortening the term of compulsory military training from the present three year period to 33 months, the time was not ripe in view of recent events. “The Army must maintain a high state of alert on the Syrian and Egyptian fronts,” he said.