Israeli Finance Minister Calls For ‘Disproportionate’ Attack On Iran

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called this week for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to inflict a “disproportionate toll” on Iran after the Islamic Republic launched an unprecedented missile and drone barrage on Israel over the weekend.

Smotrich’s remarks come as Israel has still not retaliated for the attack that has escalated tensions in the region and brought the world closer to the brink of a major war breaking out.

The 44-year-old, who CNN notes is a minister in Israel’s defense ministry due to a coalition agreement deal, said during an interview with Israel’s Army Radio (GLZ) that the country’s response should make Tehran “regret the moment they even thought about firing” and be “fierce, severe and inflict a disproportionate toll.”

He said that Israel’s response would “shape [Israel’s] position in the Middle East,” adding that it should “rock Tehran, so everyone there will realize they shouldn’t mess with us.”

“This is the language spoken in the Middle East,” he said, adding that the country should avoid allowing its allies and partners to dictate how it will respond to Iran’s aggression.

Numerous foreign policy and military experts agree with Smotrich’s assessment that Israel’s response should be “disproportionate” to create effective deterrence.

“The way to reestablish deterrence is not proportional. That’s academic talk,” said former Trump national security adviser John Bolton. “The way you establish deterrence is by telling your adversary, if you ever try that again, the price you will pay will be so much higher than any gain you think you can get, you shouldn’t even think about it.”

Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a non-partisan institution focusing on national security and foreign policy; Brigadier General (Res.) Professor Jacob Nagel, senior fellow at FDD and a former top Israeli official, said on Monday that a “disproportionate” response would be the only thing that Iran understands.

“If Iran walks away from this moment without paying a severe price, Tehran may be emboldened to deploy its weapons again,” they wrote. “And the next time, these drones and missiles may be armed with nuclear or chemical payloads.”

“Israel must now adopt a doctrine of ‘deterrence by punishment’ where it inflicts disproportionate costs on its enemies and focus its response on a few priority targets,” they continued. “The Israeli military could destroy the weapons deployed against them, including unnamed aerial vehicle development and production plants, as well as cruise missile and drone storage facilities inside Iran. Israel could also hit Iranian ports, oil and gas refineries, pipelines, and other infrastructure that finance the regime.”

Israel “must now shift to neutralizing Iran’s nuclear scientists and their ability to build an actual weapon,” they wrote. “After this weekend, the threat of a nuclear weapon being deployed from inside Iran toward Israel is a step closer to reality.”

Former British Army Commander Colonel Richard Kemp — who served as chairman of the British government’s Cobra Intelligence Group, responsible for coordinating the work of the national intelligence agencies, including MI5 and MI6 — also argued that a “disproportionate” response was not only warranted, but needed.

“I don’t think Israel should be looking at a proportionate response; I think Israel should be looking at a disproportionate response here,” he said during a media interview on Monday. “Israel should deliver a very, very severe retaliatory attack or series of attacks against Iran. And the reason I say that, it sounds terrible, sounds like war mongering, it isn’t intended to be that. But in this region in particular, only strength is understood.”

“Since Iran carried out this attack over the weekend, it’s been ridiculed around the Arab world for being ineffective for not achieving anything,” he continued. “And that shows the level of contempt that countries around here and players around here have witnessed. So Israel needs to deliver something that will not just be a kind of tit for tat, which will again encourage a further response from Iran, it needs to deliver a level of attack, in my view, yeah, that really does deter Iran from doing the same.”

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