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A Firm Hand Is Needed

Israel, Ma'ariv

By Amos Gilboa 

..Can those who do not trust the current leadership as to knowing how to correctly navigate the country through the terrible dilemmas associated with the hard uncertainty, point out the replacements? 


Translated by Viktoria Lymar

Edited by Steven Stenzler


21 May 2012



Even the scholarly research of the RAND Institute, which determined that Israel should be prevented from attacking, has not managed to persuade: We will not be able to live with Iran having a nuclear capacity.



In recent days, two important position papers have been published on the subject of the Iranian nuke and Israel. The first is the American RAND Institute's paper, and the second one is that by Professor Yehezkel Dror which was released on behalf of the Begin - Sadat Center for Strtegic Studies at the Bar-Ilan University. The analysis and the conclusions of the two works are almost completely different and for this reason, they are of a special interest.

The renowned RAND Institute has been advising the Pentagon for years, and its professional strength is in Operations Research, in Systems Analysis and in Statistical Research. The starting point of the current study is that Iran will possess nuclear ability, and this is to be reconciled with. Therefore, the research opposes any Israeli or American attempt to strike the nuclear facilities of Iran because such an offensive would only increase the Iranian resolve to produce nuclear weapons; the sympathy of the regimes of the region for Iran would only grow and make it difficult for the U.S. to put the brakes on it. 

The research not only recommends to the administration not to try to hit Iran’s nuclear sites, but to press on Israel and illustrate to it the perils [inherent] in the assault. And an additional recommendation to the American administration: to strengthen Israel’s military and intelligence capability to get prepped for the future where Iran is nuclear-armed. The study pins hopes that perhaps, the Iranian regime to come, more democratic or under more moderate leadership, will lessen its hostility toward Israel. 

Simply put, the RAND Institute, sitting in far away California, is saying to people sitting in Zion the following words: don’t you count on the United States – it will be able to live with a nuclear Iran, there’s no direct threat to America. You’ll live with this and will need to rely on the American equipment and the chance that nuclear Iran becomes moderate and democratic.


The Gravest Danger


Professor Dror, one of the greatest thinkers in the field of government and policy, is coming forward in his paper with the recommendation which is in terms of a commandment: if there is no other way to prevent Iran from nuclear weapons (diplomacy, sanctions, American operation), and as long as is possible to do so, Israel should strike Iranian nuclear facilities, while combining the attack with a serious Israeli initiative of a comprehensive Middle East peace. 

The reasoned analysis of Prof. Dror brings us to a conclusion that nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands constitutes a gravest danger to Israel despite all its defensive measures, despite its ultimate deterrence, despite all of the large-scale assistance it is to receive from the U.S. 

Why? According to Dror’s scrutiny, there is a real possibility, even if a very small probability, of Iranian use of nuclear weapons against Israel. For example, at a time of domestic revolution, Iran’s rulers may deal a blow on Israel with the intention of “Let me die with the Zionists”; and the likelihood exists of nuclear assault on Israel by a delivery guy from a terrorist organization or a launch by mistake. Moreover, Israel is to enter an era of vague nuclear threats that would shackle its arms and gradually weaken it and only exacerbate the Israeli-Arab conflict; there’ll be economic and social implications for Israel living in the shadow of the nuclear menace; and it’s clear that the unstable Middle East is going to embark on the race of acquiring nuclear arms which would double the jeopardies for Israel. 

So can Israel rely on a future where it has to live in the shadow of the Iranian nuclear threat? Can Israel take an optimistic approach that in the end, the U.S. would go to war? Can those who do not trust the current leadership as to knowing how to correctly navigate the country through the terrible dilemmas associated with the hard uncertainty, point out the replacements? As a matter of fact, let them do that.


The author is a Brigadier General (res.), advisor on intelligence affairs to the Israeli intelligence community and lecturer on intelligence. He has held several senior positions in the Intelligence Corps and in the Intelligence Department of the IDF General Staff, most recently as Head of the Research Division. He also served as Advisor to the Prime Minister on Arab Affairs and as Advisor to the Defense Minister.


Original Hebrew article: