This is not an academic question, totally detached from reality. As far as Israel is concerned, it is a question of life and death. And it was the first question I asked myself upon reading “Can Israel Afford to Slow Down Iran’s Nuclear Program?” by Yossi Melman in the May 20th issue of Haaretz.
Yossi Melman writes about Israel’s excruciating dilemma:
It is obvious that the question of “to bomb or not to bomb” that stands before the Israeli leadership is one of the most difficult issues in the state’s history. It is no less difficult than David Ben-Gurion’s decision to declare independence in May 1948.
This dilemma wouldn’t have existed if President Obama had told the Iranians, like Ronald Reagan would’ve told them, decisively and without any equivocations, that if they continued deceiving the international community, their suspicious nuclear facilities would be destroyed by American “bunker busters.” It should be emphasized here that if the Iranians had perceived Obama to be a strong and decisive leader, they no doubt would’ve stopped their march to nuclear power status long ago.
But let’s not be naïve. Obama will continue experimenting with useless sanctions against the mullahs, sending his envoys to Israel with only the message “Don’t do it!” and making eloquent but feeble threats that nobody will listen to.
Israeli leaders are, of course, aware of Obama’s ideological naivete, his propensity for appeasement, and his obvious acquiescence to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Mr. Melman’s article leaves no doubt that the Jewish state will act not as Obama’s client state, but as the strongest regional power:
Whoever takes notice of the content and historical context of recent statements made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be left with no doubt: Iran’s possession of a nuclear bomb will represent an existential threat that the State of Israel will not tolerate. These words should lead to one obvious conclusion: Israel will do anything in its power – including use of military force – to prevent Iran from obtaining its first nuclear weapon.
I lived in Israel for five years. I was an attentive observer of the political currents in the Jewish state, and although I don’t want an Israeli confrontation with Iran and I fear the unpredictable, I am nevertheless absolutely certain that Israel will act as the Middle East superpower, notwithstanding all the possible dire consequences.
It is painful to think that all those consequences could be avoided if America were led by a strong and determined President, similar to Ronald Reagan, not a weak and naïve one resembling Jimmy Carter.