While in Berlin, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and briefed her on the threats Israel is facing, mainly the growing Iranian presence in Syria and Hezbollah’s attempts to acquire advanced weapons. Rivlin told Merkel that Israel views Iran’s presence as a direct threat.

Rivlin and Merkel

Rivlin and Merkel Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Channel 2 News

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. During the meeting, Rivlin thanked Merkel on behalf of Israel for Germany’s support and cooperation. Rivlin then mentioned the various threats that Israel is facing, claiming that the Iranian presence is threatening the stability in the Middle East and that it is likely “to drag the region into a war.”

Rivlin said that Israel is grateful and appreciative of Merkel’s commitment to maintaining Israel’s security. “We hope that this commitment between the countries will remain forever, regardless of this or that coalition in either of the countries,” he said.

Rivlin also told Merkel that the Iranian presence in the region is a “direct threat to the State of Israel.” The Israeli president also briefed the chancellor on what the dangerous consequences will be if the Iranian-backed Hezbollah activities in Lebanon and Syria continue. Rivlin said that Hezbollah is endangering the Lebanese citizens and thus violating UNSC resolutions, adding that the terrorist organization’s efforts to obtain advanced weapons will be met with an Israeli response.

Earlier today, Syrian and Lebanese media outlets reported that an Israeli airstrike against a missile and chemical weapons facility near Hama took place overnight. The Syrian Army warned that there will be “dangerous repercussions,” calling the attack an aggressive move that threatens the “security and stability in the region.” The army has accused Israeli aircraft of carrying out the attack, which claimed the lives of two people and resulted in severe damage. 

Israeli officials have neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, stating that they do not comment on foreign reports. However, senior Israeli officials have in the past confirmed IDF attacks targeting weapon convoys in Syria that were on their way to Hezbollah.