Israeli soldiers stand guard over bodies in Kfar Aza, a kibbutz in southern Israel, Oct. 10, 2023. Former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett told an Ottawa audience April 12 Israel must prevail in its fight with Hamas or the spread of terror could reach foreign shores like Canada and the United States. OSV News photo/Ronen Zvulun, Reuters

Israel must prevail... or else

  • April 17, 2024

A former Israeli prime minister is issuing a stark warning to Canadians that Hamas-style terror tactics will spread to North America unless the Jewish State achieves its goals in Gaza.

Naftali Bennett’s grim prediction for an Ottawa audience came less than 24 hours before Iran blitzed Israel with about 300 projectiles and drones on Saturday. Most of the projectiles were intercepted by Israeli, American, Jordanian and Saudi Arabian air defences before they could reprise the slaughter of innocents that Hamas carried out on Oct. 7, 2023.

But Bennett said the shelling blitz made tangible the “Octopus doctrine” by which Iran must be stopped from using Hamas and other proxies to spread terror, destruction and death throughout the Middle East in pursuit of its determination to eradicate the Jewish State.

“We’re in a war with Iran. It’s Iran who is fighting us. Iran doesn’t have a joint border with Israel. It’s a thousand kilometres east of Israel. But it’s an octopus of terror that sends its arms through proxies to fight Israel on our borders,” he said during a panel discussion at the centre-right Canada Strong and Free conference.

Bennett, the 13th prime minister of Israel from June 2021 to June 2022 and a former chief of staff to current PM Benjamin Netanyahu, said Western nations such as Canada must maintain the “moral clarity” to stand by Israel beyond the fighting in Gaza and go “all in” against the “sinister axis” of Iran, Russia, North Korea and China.

The “corrupt, incompetent” Iranian government itself is hated by its population and is due for collapse under the right form of pressure from outside forces, he said.

“We can do a lot to accelerate that collapse. I’m talking short of a military attack: huge economic sanctions, cyber (attacks), and overt-covert empowerment of the (Iranian) opposition, much as the CIA did to help (Poland) and other countries in the Soviet bloc. It’s a very soft empire of lies. The people hate it. Ultimately, it will collapse,” he told the audience of about 1,000 conference attendees.

The hi-tech titan, who sold his U.S. based software company for $145 million before entering Israeli politics in 2006, said a prime urgency for provoking that collapse is to fend off Iran developing a nuclear weapon. But it’s also crucial, he stressed, to cut the arms off proxies such as Hamas, which has vowed a repeat of its Oct. 7 rape-murder-and hostage taking rampage if it survives the current Gaza war.

The strategy Hamas deployed in October and continues to use in Gaza must be seen as a direct threat to Canada, the U.S. and Europe unless Israel’s objective of obliterating the internationally-acknowledged terror organization is achieved, Bennett said. The plan relies on the ultra-violent Oct. 7 assault that “massacred babies, rape(d) women, murder(ed) families, and burned (victims) alive.” It then turned to “hiding behind civilians” in Gaza and launching a global propaganda offensive to blame Israel for deaths caused by its response.

“What’s at stake now is (whether) we allow this strategy to work. If we allow it to work, mark my words, you’re going to see it everywhere. You’re going to see it in Europe. You’re going to see it in the United States and Canada. There will be inspiration and imitation terror,” Bennett said.

He called on those attending the conference to “stand up, fight back on social networks, talk to your friends in your workplace or at universities, not only for Israel’s sake but for the sake of all our futures.”

Israel is on the front line. It needs Canada and the West to have its back, he said.

“We are surrounded on our borders by the craziest terror organizations on earth, and the most lethal. So, the barbarians are at the gate and we’re fighting them off. We’re serving the West by doing it. We will do our fighting. What we do hope and expect is the minimum of having our back,” Bennett said.

The Israeli politician’s warning got a precursor show of support earlier at the conference when former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian PM Tony Abbott criticized those who waver in the face of the “apocalyptic terrorism” and “evil totalitarianism” of Hamas.

Abbott compared those who believe they can pacify Hamas to British leader Neville Chamberlain’s folly in trying to reason with Adolf Hitler before the Second World War.

Johnson appeared to take a shot at the Trudeau government for its willingness to entertain a ban on Canadian sales of arms to Israel.

“It dismays me to see good, kindly people saying we should respond to Israel’s response (in Gaza) by banning arms sales to Israel. That is saying ‘we’re willing to see Hamas win,’ which would be a terrible thing for the world. The moral difference (between Israel and its enemy) is clear,” Johnson said.

For his part, Abbott insisted Israel is doing all it can “to minimize casualties” in the Gaza fighting while Hamas is trying to maximize them. The world must understand the Jewish State must achieve its Gaza objective.

“If you’re in a war, you want to win, not draw. How can anyone want a death cult to win?” Abbott demanded.

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