Speaking at a Christian Media Conference in Jerusalem on Sunday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel was preventing radical Islam from overrunning the region, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Slamming the Palestinian Authority over its alleged persecution of Christians in the city of Bethlehem, Netanyahu said that after the ancient city was handed over to the Palestinian Authority, its Christian population dwindled from 80 percent of the population to just 20 percent.
Finally, turning to Israeli military operations in Syria, which he said are a struggle against an Iranian takeover, Netanyahu suggested that for Tehran, "Israel is a small Satan," with Europe serving as a "medium Satan," and the US as a "great Satan."
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu threatened the Hamas militant group with "very painful" attacks if the group did "not stop the violent attacks against us" near the Gaza border.
Syrian authorities and media have repeatedly accused Tel Aviv of providing various forms of assistance to extremist militants in southern Syria over the years, including weapons and medical aid. Israel has for the most part refrained from officially commenting on such allegations.