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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Avi Dichter
Avi Dichter

Avi Dichter

Former Shin Bet head; recently appointed minister for the home front

What he said and where

Backed Benjamin Netanyahu’s characterization of Iran as an “existential threat” in his first remarks as minister, August 19.

What it means

Believes Isreal must be prepared to act alone and attack Iran if necessay.

“Lebanon, Gaza and Syria pose a strategic threat, and Iran for the first time poses an existential threat.”


Ephraim Sneh
Ephraim Sneh

Ephraim Sneh

Former deputy defense minister

What he said and where

Barring a change in Iran’s stand, backed an attack before end of year in a briefing to the Israel Policy Forum on July 10.

What it means

Believes Israel’s window to act is short because winter conditions will soon make an attack impossible and Iran will have new defenses in place by spring.

“Our operational maneuvering is narrower than America’s.”


Moshe Ya’alon

Current minister for strategic affairs, former IDF chief of staff

What he said and where

Backed Barak and Netanyahu’s stance in June 13 Haaretz interview.

What it means

Believes Israel may have to act alone to remove what he sees as an existential threat.

“The Iranian nuclear threat is like a sword held to Israel’s throat….Under no circumstances will Israel agree to let the sword touch its throat.”’


Straddler

Amos Yadlin
Amos Yadlin

Amos Yadlin

Former head of military intelligence; director of Institute for National Security Studies

What he said and where

In a Washington Post opinion piece August 18, urged proactive diplomacy by Obama to reassure Israel and avert an Israeli attack.

What it means

Recommends that Obama address the Knesset to make clear his commitment to stop the Iranian bomb, and that he inform Congress in writing of his intention to use military force if diplomacy fails.

“If the U.S. wants Israel to give sanctions and diplomacy more time, Israelis must know they will not be left high and dry if these options fail.”

Based on reporting by Ben Lynfield and J.J. Goldberg.


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