JERUSALEM, Israel – For years, what’s called a “war between wars” has existed between Israel and Iran, where much of the fighting takes place in the shadows. This shadow war is coming more and more out into the open.
Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced new rules of engagement with Iran called "Operation Octopus."
He said, “In the past year, the State of Israel has taken action against the head of the terrorist octopus … the days of immunity, in which Iran attacks Israel and spreads terrorism via its regional proxies but remains unscathed, are over.”
Middle East analyst Ellie Cohanim sees the region shifting.
“I think it’s well overdue for Israel and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Bahrainis. All of these countries that have been the victims of the Iranian regime proxy activity start to hold Iran responsible rather than the proxies," she told CBN News.
Some see a ratcheting up of Israel's covert and even overt operations to thwart Iran's nuclear, and conventional missile and drone programs. It could explain the mysterious deaths of a number of Iranian nuclear scientists and military leaders recently.
Another example is Israel's recent attack on the Damascus airport, which Israel sees as a major conduit of Iranian weapons on their way to Hezbollah in Syria.
Now, Israel says Iran is threatening to retaliate by kidnapping or killing Israelis in the region and especially in Turkey.
"We are currently witnessing Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in various overseas locations. The security services of the State of Israel are working to thwart attempted attacks before they are launched. We will continue to strike those who send the terrorists and those who send those who send them. Our new rule is: whoever sends, pays," said Bennett.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced a regional cooperative Middle East air defense led by the US.
“It can help with anything related to Iran's attempts to attack countries of the region using rockets, missiles, cruise missiles and UAVs. This program is already operative and has already thwarted Iranian attempts that I spoke about on other occasions, both here and in the Middle East in general," said Gantz.
With the collapse of the Israeli government, Cohanim told CBN News Israel is entering a dangerous season.
"The regime can see this all as a moment of vulnerability for the Israelis and try and take advantage. So my hope is that the Israelis as much as they are dealing with elections and cobbling together coalitions and all that they do keep their focus on what they call the existential threat that the Iranian regime poses," said Cohanim.
All this comes as efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal seem on the brink of collapse. Senators on both sides say it’s unlikely Iran will agree to any new deal to limit its development of nuclear weapons.