ISRAEL’S ambassador to Australia has described his country’s military offensives in Gaza as a “preintroduction” to tackling the military threat posed by a nuclear-equipped Iran.
Israeli ambassador Yuval Rotem told a meeting of Sydney’s Jewish community yesterday that he expected Iran would soon pose a major nuclear threat.
Seven News reporter Sarah Cummings reported that after telling a camera operator to turn off his camera, Mr Rotem told those gathered he expected Iran to stockpile enough uranium over the next 14 months to “be at the point of no return”.
“(He said) the country’s recent military offensives were a preintroduction to the challenge Israel expects from a nuclear-equipped Iran within a year,” Cummings said.
During the meeting, held in a relaxed breakfast setting, Mr Rotem spoke about the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 1300 Palestinians.
Cummings said Mr Rotem made the point that “Israel’s efforts in Gaza were to bring about understanding that we are ready to engage in a decisive way.”
Seven said a staff member had invited Seven News “accidentally”.
While being filmed before the discussion, mr Rotem said, “The best thing to do is to have a very open dialogue if there are no reporters or journalists here,” before telling the cameraman to stop filming.
He said: “I am far more reserved in the way I am saying my things (on camera).”
World Vision Tim Costello chief executive said: “There is a view there that Iran is the serious issue and the serious problem, and that is widely known and widely discussed in the Jewish community.”
Later in the afternoon, the Israeli ambassador denied that Israel was planning an attack, but said Iran needed to be stopped.
Irancove @ February 3, 2009