JERUSALEM, Sept. 27 (JTA) — Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai has lashed out at a proposal that Israel launch a pre-emptive military strike against Iran. The proposal was made Sunday by Knesset member Ephraim Sneh, health minister in the former Labor government, after Iran made its first public display of its Shahab-3 missile during a military parade last Friday. In July, Iran successfully tested the medium-range missile, which is capable of hitting targets in Israel, Saudi Arabia and most of Turkey. The missile, with a range of 800 miles, is for defensive purposes only, Iranian officials said at the time. Sneh, who called Iranian leaders “insane,” said a pre-emptive strike might be necessary because international efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring missile technology and developing a nuclear capability had failed. Mordechai rejected Sneh’s proposal during an appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In subsequent comments to reporters, Mordechai said Israel could defend its population and would continue to do so well into the future. Adopting a conciliatory tone, he added that militant declarations against Tehran could only do harm. Referring to Israel’s deterrent capabilities, he said Iran should likewise make no threats against the Jewish state. Military experts in Israel believe that the Shahab-3 could be operational by the end of next year. Iran is also believed to be developing the Shahab-4, which has a 1,200-mile range.