Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking Monday at a ceremony introducing his new government, said that Israel’s security is his top priority.

“As prime minister, I don’t have the privilege to abandon the external challenges to Israel. We must ensure the existence of the State of Israel. Therefore, the first priority will be the defense of the country and its citizens,” Netanyahu said, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Netanyahu labeled the growing threat of Iran and its nuclear program as well as the deteriorating situation in Syria as Israel’s biggest security threats.

Netanyahu also discussed peace with the Palestinians, saying that his government would be ready to make a “historic compromise”.

“We extend our hand in peace to the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said, the Associated Press reported. “Israel has proven time and again it is ready for concessions in exchange for real peace, and the situation today is no different.”

JNS Wire Service