Israel will ‘defend itself, by itself’ Netanyahu asserts during Yom Kippur War memorial ceremony


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will defend itself against any threat, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during the state memorial ceremony for soldiers who fell during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Netanyahu focused on Iran during his remarks at the Thursday ceremony on Mount. Herzl in Jerusalem.

“Iran threatens to wipe us off the map. It says explicitly: ‘Israel will disappear.’ It has tried to attack us repeatedly; therefore, we must stand ready to defend ourselves against danger,” Netanyahu said.

“We do not aspire to be ‘a people that dwells alone’ but thus we were forced to stand at the start of the Yom Kippur War; only towards the end did the American aid arrive. Like in 1973, today we very much appreciate the important support of the US, which has greatly increased in recent years, as well as the major economic pressure that the U.S. is using on Iran.”

Netanyahu’s remarks come days after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew U.S. troops from northern Syria, leaving the door open for the gap in territory to be filled by elements hostile to Israel. Netanyahu did not mention Trump’s decision to withdraw during his remarks.

On Wednesday, Turkey launched an assault with jets and artillery on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria, in preparation to open a ground offensive made possible by the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

“Even so, we will always remember and implement the basic rule that has guided us; Israel will defend itself, by itself, against any threat,” Netanyahu continued.

“The IDF is prepared to pre-empt any threat, defensively and offensively, with crushing strength, in weaponry and in spirit. This is the tremendous spirit that was instilled in us by the generation of the Yom Kippur War.”

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