Israeli minister of education Naftali Bennett, the head of the hard-line right-wing "Jewish Home" political party, has urged the international community to recognise Israel's annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights.
Bennett argues that Syria as a state can no longer claim the Golan Heights or protect the strategic importance of the region.
The minister spoke at the annual Herzliya Conference in Tel Aviv, saying "I call upon the international community: they should stand with us and acknowledge Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights now."
"The border is changing every day, Syria no longer exists as a state, for this is the time to have the initiative."
Bennett said the Golan Heights is different from the Palestinian territories, as according to him it represents a buffer zone vital to the security of Israel.
Bennett claims that the Syrian government has lost control of the border areas of the Golan to armed rebel groups.
"Who would you like us to give the Golan Heights to? To Syrian President Bashar Assad? To Al Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front? To the Islamic State group? To Lebanon's Hezbollah?" AFP reported him saying.
The United States has previously sponsored peace talks between Syria and Israel in the past, and has in the past supported the return of the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967, to Syria as part of a comprehensive peace deal.
Israel seized control of 1,200 square kilometers in the Syrian Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed the territory after having occupied it for 14 years, but the international community refuses to recognise the annexation.
The United States has previously sponsored peace talks between Syria and Israel in the past, and has supported the return of the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a comprehensive peace deal between the two countries.
Bennett is a firm supporter of the Jewish settlement policy and rejects the formation of a Palestinian state, calling for Israel to recognise areas with high Jewish settlement density in the West Bank as Israeli lands.