Israel this week set aside 5 billion shekels (roughly $1.5 billion) for a possible assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The money will come from the current state budgets and the upcoming budget set to be voted on next month.
The decision was the most concrete evidence yet that Israel is genuine in its threat to attack Iran, and soon.
The Channel 12 News report on the government decision noted that the 5 billion will be used to acquire and upgrade aircraft, gather intelligence and buy bombs.
It was certainly no coincidence that this news broke just one day after the US Air Force announced the successful test of a new bunker buster bomb that can be carried by fighter jets.
Israel’s current bunker buster bombs can’t penetrate some of Iran’s more critical nuclear facilities, which are buried deep beneath large mountains. Nor does Israel possess the kind of heavy bombers capable of deploying the larger bunker buster bombs in the current US arsenal.
But the new GBU-72 Advanced 5K Penetrator can penetrate all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, and was designed to be carried either by heavy bombers or large fighter jets like the F-15 and F-35 aircraft in Israel’s fleet.
The implication was that part of the 5 billion approved for striking Iran will be used to buy an arsenal of GBU-72 bombs. Earlier this week it was reported that Israel had asked Boeing to advance its delivery of new long-range refueling aircraft.
Appearing before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday to defend the decision to dramatically increase defense spending this year, Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated:
“We see that Iran is advancing toward the level of enrichment that would allow it, when it wished, to become a threshold state — and we are making every effort to prevent that.
“We will invest in our offensive and defensive capabilities, improve our technological superiority, and accelerate our efforts in order to ensure that — despite the fact that Iran is foremost a global and regional challenge — Israel will always have the ability to defend its citizens with its own forces.”
Israeli officials have been stressing for weeks that the Jewish state will not allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state, and that the need for military intervention is becoming increasingly inevitable.
While the Biden Administration has stated its intention to continue seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis, it has also moved closer to the Israeli position by warning Tehran that “all options” remain on the table.