Israel is highly concerned by the prospect of a stronger Iranian presence in Syria, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told his Italian counterpart, Roberta Pinotti, on Monday in Tel Aviv. Ya’alon, who met with Pinotti at his Tel Aviv bureau, praised defense relations between Israel and Italy, and pointed out the use by the IAF of Italy’s M346 training plane.

Although Israel would very much like the Syrian civil war to come to an end, the conflict, which has led to half a million casualties and ten million refugees, “is still continuing at this time. It has not completely stopped,” Ya’alon said. Israel is “very concerned by the strengthening of Iran in Syria, which will lead to a strengthening of the Shi’ite axis, in a negative manner,” Ya’alon said. “This could encourage Iran to continue to activate a terror front against us from the Golan Heights. READ MORE