Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a brief chat with reporters at his hotel in New York on Friday, “Israel will not tolerate an Iranian military presence on our northern borders. An [Iranian] military presence endangers not just us, but also our Arab neighbors.”
The prime minister had just arrived from Mexico after wrapping up a week-long trip to Latin America with stops in Argentina and Colombia and meetings with the president of Paraguay as well as dozens of business leaders. An Israeli business delegation accompanied Netanyahu on the trip.
On Friday evening, the prime minister hosted Shabbat dinner for invited guests at the hotel. He is set to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, a day before addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Trump will address the General Assembly on Tuesday as well.
The two men are expected to discuss the issue of Iran’s presence on Israel’s northern border, as well as the looming deadline for Trump’s signature to re-approve or cancel the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran.
Netanyahu has repeatedly warned that Iran presents an existential threat to Israel, as well as the entire world. On Tuesday he told reporters the Iranians “have a terror machine … operating terror cells in many continents,” adding that Tehran’s “quest for nuclear weapons” is a major concern, one that should worry “the entire international community.”
Israel’s military force has just completed a comprehensive 11-day exercise designed to address issues that could arise in a possible war with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah proxy force, based in Lebanon but now also fighting in Syria.