Senior Israeli defence official visits Australia, speaks to AIJAC

September 6, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The head of Israel’s Political-Military Bureau at the Ministry of Defence, Zohar Palti, was recently in Australia.

Safi Amashi, Colin Rubenstein, Zohar Palti, Mark Leibler, Yair Sagi

Mr Palti brings a wealth of intelligence experience to his role having previously served as the head of the Mossad’s intelligence directorate, as well as deputy head of the Research Division in the IDF Intelligence Corps at the rank of Colonel.

While visiting Melbourne, Mr Palti addressed “Coping with Israel’s Defence and Security Challenges” at a lunch hosted by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).

In his address, Mr Palti commented on the shared values between Australia and Israel – including “democracy, freedom of speech, and the alliance with the United States” – that have led to close relationship.  He welcomed Australia’s decision to join the international coalition in the Strait of Hormuz to ensure freedom of navigation.

Mr Palti suggested that while Israel is currently in a position of considerable strength in the region, it faces threats on a number of fronts from Iran, which he described as like “a marathon runner” in pursuing its goals in a long-term way.

These threats include Iran’s intention to develop a nuclear weapon, which he said was likely to lead to a regional arms race, cyber attacks, as well as Iran’s support and funding of terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon/Syria, and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.  He said that Hezbollah is believed to have around 100,000 rockets aimed at Israel.  Mr Palti asserted unequivocally that Hezbollah cannot be divided into political and military wings because such divisions are artificial.

Currently, Australia only bans Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation and not the entire organisation, unlike many other countries, including the UK, US and Canada.

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