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To Dispel the Ambiguity

Israel, Ma’ariv

By Dr. Cellu Rozenberg

Here is proposed a re-thinking of what is fixed in the consciousness as Israel’s “policy of ambiguity” in order to meet the danger.


Translated by Viktoria Lymar

Edited by Steven Stenzler


5 June 2012


The geopolitical arena has changed and it requires reassessment of the Israeli ambiguity on the nuclear subject in order to create a real deterrence against Iran.


It is possible that one fine day the countries of the West will be surprised by Iran’s achievements in the nuclear field. For the sake of truth, it won’t be the first time. The recent past demonstrates this in signs and wonders. From Israel’s vantage point, a nuclear Iran is an existential danger. In a simulation game held the last year at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center under the headline “Iran: The Day After,” there were drawn several conclusions, and it’s worth mentioning their essence in order to try to establish a different paradigm. And here are the rulings of the “players”:

1) Israel has to initiate a bold political process against Syria that would weaken Iran and the radical axis before it’s too late. 2) [We] should care for the strengthening of Israel’s image as possessing credible deterrent capability and assured second strike capability. 3) [We] should avoid significant steps without prior coordination with the United States at least, for it is leading the moves in the region. 4) [We] should act in furtherance of the stable comprehensive Middle East peace under the guidance of the United States which constitutes the axis against Iran.

Even if the “game” was played just a year ago, its current validity is questionable. The arena has changed, starting from Iran’s progress in the nuclear project and finishing with the deepest shifts in the geopolitical scene. The paradigm that Israel is to take action only after Iran’s “first strike” is puzzling. It implies that there’s an acceptance of a nuclear Iran. This is a very strange conclusion: to suffer the first blow and respond.

Professor Yehezkel Dror, one of the participants in the “game” writes: “It is recommended for Israel to make it clear to Iran that every nuclear attack on Israel will bring devastation to Iran. It’s important to emphasize that in a hypothetical and contradictory-to-expectations case of nuclear assault on Israel from Iran’s side, Israel has the right and also the moral and practical duty to demolish it, even if that does not restore Israel.” Dror goes on and claims: “The proposed estimate in regard to Iran gives a high probability to a situation where ultimate deterrence would work very well. However, there is an exception for that – and this is pushing the ruling group into the corner where it fears elimination.

In this case, it may prefer “to die as heroes of Muslim history with the Israelis” and sacrifice Iran’s future in the name of an attempt to do away with Israel.” As of today, if Iran had an atomic bomb at its disposal, it would certainly go into effect.

Here proposed is a re-thinking of what is fixed in the consciousness as Israel’s “policy of ambiguity” in order to meet the danger. If the fact is true that Israel has a nuclear capacity as we learn from the open sources, isn’t it that its purpose is to prevent Israel’s destruction? The Iranian bomb, a priori, is an existential peril. If the above arguments are correct, why not make a revision in the ambiguity policy so that it would be clear to the Iranians what may be the consequences? (Needless to say that my proposition is based on things published abroad. I don’t know anything about Israel’s nuclear ability).


The writer is a historian specializing in national security


Original Hebrew article: