A military strike against Iran is "not needed tomorrow morning" but Israel does need to present a credible military threat alongside sanctions and diplomatic action against the Islamic regime, former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi said on Sunday.
Speaking at The Jerusalem Post conference in New York, Ashkenazi said that the right strategy was too continue the economic crackdown on Iran as well as covert action that takes place "under the radar."
"I think we still have time. It is not tomorrow morning it is better to persuade our friends in the world and the region that it is a global threat and this government [Netanyahu government Y.K.] has done a good job on this but in any case Israel needs its own capability since we cannot allow to live under a nuclear umbrella," he said.
"We need crippling sanctions and much more severe sanctions. It might now be too late and too light and it needs to be supported by a credible military threat on the table," he added.
Turning to the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East, Ashkenazi revealed that former Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman visited Israel two months before President Hosni Mubarak was toppled and predicted that either he or Mubarak's son Jamal would succeed the president.
Ashkenazi said that someone in the room asked Suleiman how he could be certain that the transition of power would occur like he said. He said that Sulieman said that it did not matter who voted but rather "who counted the vote."
The possible downfall of Syrian President Bashar Assad could be a positive change for Israel since any regime which succeeds, would not be aligned with Iran or Hezbollah.
"Most of the weaponry that Hezbollah posses comes from Syrian depots and the money from Iran," he said.
He shied away from predicting though whether and when Assad will fall. The international community's failure to take "tangible action" was like giving Assad a "license to kill," Ashkenazi said.
Turning to the threats against Israel, Ashkenazi said that Israel was no longer facing a clear enemy like it did during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
"In Yom Kippur it was simple. We had to mobilize. you saw the borders, the fences, minefields and there was attack and defense," he said. "Today war is different. You still need to mobilize but then you go to the field but what is the field and what is the fence and you raise your binoculars and you don't see the enemy."