Israel's Establishment Speaks Out on Iran

Insiders Divided Like Never Before Over Looming War

By J.J. Goldberg and Ben Lynfield

Published August 26, 2012, issue of August 31, 2012.
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Against

Uzi Arad
Uzi Arad

Uzi Arad

Former head of National Security Council, former director of research for the Mossad

What he said and where

Told Forward columnist J.J. Goldberg that Israel must work with Washington, not unilaterally, against Iranian nuclear threat in July 22 interview.

What it means

Believes Israel alone cannot stop Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability over the long run.

“One needs American leadership, one needs American resources. One needs American abilities, either diplomatic or military.”


Gabi Ashkenazi
Gabi Ashkenazi

Gabi Ashkenazi

Former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff

What he said and where

Voiced opposition to a unilateral strike at a Jerusalem Post conference in New York on April 29.

What it means

Views the problem as an international one; Israel must act as part of an international alliance; sanctions worked in 2003, when Iran froze nuclear research under international pressure.

“I think we still have time. It is not tomorrow morning.”


Ami Ayalon
Ami Ayalon

Ami Ayalon

Former head of Shin Bet

What he said and where

Told Forward columnist J.J. Goldberg on July 8 that an Israeli strike would only delay the Iranian nuclear program.

What it means

Sees U.S. and NATO participation as crucial for success of a strike.

“The perception should be that we did everything possible in the diplomatic track [so] it’s now legitimate to act.”


Meir Dagan
Meir Dagan

Meir Dagan

Former head of the Mossad

What he said and where

Opposed attack at Hebrew University conference on May 6, 2011, and in frequent interviews since.

What it means

Doubts pilots could reach enough of Iran’s well-scattered nuclear targets; attack will trigger a war with unpredictable consequences; takes President Obama at his word that the United States won’t allow Iran to become a nuclear state.

Called attack proposal “the stupidest thing I ever heard.”’


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