Reaction to Israel’s Strike in Iran Plays Down Significance

The Israeli strike on a military base near the Iranian city of Isfahan was part of a cycle of retaliation that has alarmed world leaders, but it produced a largely muted response from both on Friday.Television networks and some officials in both countries played down the significance of the strike, which Israeli and Iranian officials confirmed. State television in Syria, a close Iranian ally, did not mention it.In Israel, officials described the strike as a limited response designed to avoid escalating tensions. Pundits on the country’s morning news shows said the strike did not appear to cause significant damage to military sites in Iran.“Israel can do elegant military maneuvers that are not noisy or cause significant military damage but which deliver the message Israel wants,” Dana Weiss, a diplomatic affairs analyst for Israel Channel 12, told viewers. “And that is what we have seen them do.”State television in Iran said military and nuclear facilities in Isfahan were safe and broadcast footage of the city looking calm in the spring light. One newsreader there described the attack as “not a big deal.”Social media users in Iran, including some connected to the country’s military, mocked the Israeli strike as a puny response to the roughly 300 missiles and drones that Iran launched at Israel last weekend.In one video that was widely shared online Friday, a girl throws a paper airplane at an apartment building and compares it to the Israeli strike, giggling as the folded paper hits the concrete structure.Brig. General Siavash Mihandoust, the most senior military official in Isfahan, told state television that any explosions heard there on Friday were not caused by Israeli strikes, attributing them to air defense systems shooting down “flying objects.”Some in Israel celebrated the strikes, including elected leaders from the country’s right-wing parties.National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a member of a far-right party, used on X a Hebrew phrase roughly equivalent to “weak,” “pathetic” or “defenseless.”Tally Gotliv, a lawmaker from the Likud party, wrote on X, “A morning in which our head is proudly up. Israel is a strong and forceful country.”

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