Photo: AFP
Iranian threat not existential
Photo: AFP
Ron Ben-Yishai
A ray of light
Iranian nuclear threat still looms, but danger to Israel at this time not existential

Part 2 of article


The situation is not wholly grim on the Iran front. On one hand, the Ayatollahs in Tehran continued to enrich uranium and develop nuclear weapons this past year, while the West's efforts to engage in dialogue have hit a wall for the time being. However, there are also some rays of light. Most importantly, the international community, under America's leadership, recognized the danger to world peace posed by Iran and is handling it with relative intensity and determination.


Another ray of light has to do with the growing rifts within the Ayatollah regime and between it and young Iranians; this trend may prompt the regime's collapse in a few years.


Finally, we have seen clear proof that the international pressure has been bearing fruit. The fact is that Iran can already produce, within a few months, enough nuclear material for one bomb. However, the leadership in Tehran has put off the decision for fear of an international response. As opposed to North Korea, Iran is very vulnerable to economic sanctions and fears international isolation that may undermine the regime from within.


The relatively good security situation we've been enjoying on all fronts will likely not last forever. It will be a great achievement if we can extend it by two or three more years. The nature of deterrence is that it becomes eroded and fades. We also know that members of the "resistance axis" - Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas - have been building up their strength rapidly, while gathering intelligence information and preparing for the next round.


We can see signs of danger in Judea and Samaria as well. The diplomatic impasse and internal Palestinian conflicts may prompt yet another Intifada. Israel's isolation on the international stage and the Goldstone Report may tempt even moderate Palestinians like Abbas to try their luck by provoking activists on the ground. The beginning of such Intifada will apparently not be violent in order to exert international pressure on Israel. However, later on it may become violent and spin out of control.


In the distance, we are seeing the growing threat of Iran's nuclearization, to be followed by other states in the region. Israel may have to put an end to this threatening process by launching a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.


Yet despite all, we must not be blind to one rather stable ray of light currently characterizing our security situation: As opposed to the past, the State of Israel and its citizens are not facing tangible existential danger at this time. We already saw that terrorism and rockets cannot defeat us, and certainly cannot wipe Israel off the Mideastern map. Even a nuclear Iran would not be able to put an end to Israel's existence, even if it uses its arms.


Most experts hold to his estimation based on historical experience. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were hit by US atomic bombs in 1945, did not cease to exist for even one moment despite the terrible ruin and huge death toll. This would be all the more so in Israel's case, seeing that we possess advanced attack and defense means, and that our citizens know we have no other state.


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