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It was further reported by Time magazine that the U.S. was substantially scaling back a planned joint U.S.-Israeli military drill, though so far that account has evoked denials from some of the officials quoted in media reports. But, on the whole, the developments didn’t impart the sense that the Obama administration “has Israel’s back” as it has been ritually claiming.
A former Israeli cabinet minister and head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Tzahi Hanegbi, reacted by saying last week’s events—Iran’s diplomatic victory at the NAM conference and the latest IAEA report—had given Israel “increased legitimacy” for a military strike.
What Jerusalem may or may not be planning remains a matter of intense speculation. What is clear, though, is that if the international community prefers an Israel that feels less isolated and threatened, it is doing a bad job of attaining that result. With the solemn, soul-searching holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur approaching, it is hard for Israelis to escape a sense of being, once again, a people that is on its own.
To be sure, there is a clangor in Israel of left-wing media outlets, former military officers, former judges, and the like accusing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak of being paranoid “messiahs” pushing the country toward war. As external pressures mount, the “elite” sector least comfortable with national cohesion turns increasingly shrill and adversary.
Most Israelis, though, get the message. Here in 2012, threats to annihilate the Jewish state evoke yawns. Dramatic, documented Iranian progress toward the means to do so prompts, from the top U.S. soldier, a warning not to do anything about it.
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