Israel cannot be destroyed, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy said Wednesday evening.
"(Russian President Vladimir) Putin is not interested in a nuclear Iran," Halevy said, adding that there was a big chance the Iranians would not achieve what they were after.
Talking at an event organized by the Lander Institute in Jerusalem, a day before Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit to Moscow and a day after Russian President Putin's visit to Tehran, Halevy said that "all the problems Israel had were not the result of unidentified threats.
"Iran must be dealt with in two simultaneous ways: They must be pressured through the global economy, and they must be given an opportunity to talk once they change their ways."
Halevy noted that Israel would not be destroyed.
"We cannot say that the Iranian threat is an existential threat on the State of Israel. I believe that the State of Israel cannot be eliminated. It cannot be destroyed because of things you know and because of things you can imagine."
According to the former Mossad chief, Iran was the big loser of the Second Lebanon War.
"What happened in Lebanon was an Israeli move which hit the Iranians right between the eyes. They did nothing, absolutely nothing. It was a powerful and direct move by Israel, and they did nothing.
"This should teach us that the Iranians are not huge. We saw ourselves as grasshoppers compared to them. This is our problem.
As for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "Had he not existed, we would have had to create him. He is doing great things for us."
Addressing Israel's activity in the face of the Iranian nuclear program, Halevy said, "You should assume that things have been done and things are being done, and assume that the Jewish mind can create amazing things. Iran is a bitter enemy, but this does not mean that it should be an enemy forever.
"The situation in Iran has not been particularly good over the past year. The economic situation is worsening, there is a 30% inflation, an official unemployment of 25%, and in Tehran the unemployment rate is 50%.
"Those who elected Ahmadinejad president did not elect him to develop nuclear weapons, but rather to serve as a successful mayor in Tehran. Students at Tehran's university chant, 'Death to Ahmadinejad,'" the former Mossad chief concluded.