Israel’s air force commander gave an apparently unintended insight into his priorities and preoccupations, when he remarked during comments about the defense budget that Israel might need to send its attack planes to Tehran at very short notice.

Speaking about the imperative for the government to allocate additional funding to the armed forces, Israel Air Force chief Major-General Amir Eshel declared that “there’s no one in this room who’d be prepared to ride in a car as old as our planes. I’m telling you, no-one. Yesterday these planes were in Gaza, and tomorrow we may send them to Tehran.” The remarks were not delivered in the tone of a threat, but rather as a statement about a possible mission that would require up-to-date equipment.

Eshel’s comments, broadcast Sunday on the local Channel 2 News, came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid sparred over the national budget, with Netanyahu earlier Sunday asserting that, in the wake of the summer’s 50-day Israel-Hamas conflict, “We need a significant increase of several billion in the defense budget.”

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