Renewed Angst Over Iran in Israel

In preparation for the January 2013 elections announced by Israel’s Prime Minister (PM) Benjamin Netanyahu on October 9, 2012, the major parties have begun to present their platforms. What to do about Iran is once again engaging all major Israeli politicians. It seems that Netanyahu’s attempt earlier this year to tune down public talk about “action against Iran” has not worked. Instead, the Iran issue has resurfaced with renewed vigor. The arguments the various political figures present seem to echo the lines of the U.S. presidential contenders. The left-of-center parties and the far-left are employing U.S. President Barack Obama’s line of diplomacy and sanctions, while the center-right parties want the West, and the U.S. in particular, to put the military option along with sanctions and diplomacy on the table as Mitt Romney had done.

In Jerusalem on July 29, 2012, Mitt Romney gave his backing to a unilateral Israeli military strike against Iran, insisting he would not stand-by while the “ayatollahs in Tehran” threatened to wipe the Jewish state “off the map.” Romney went on to say that “The threat it [Iran] would pose to Israel, the region and the world is incomparable and unacceptable.”

President Obama, according to the NY Times (September 13, 2012) “rejected an appeal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to spell out a specific ‘red line‘that Iran could not cross in its nuclear program, deepening the divide between the allies over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.” Obama was unwilling to agree on any specific action by the US even if Iran reaches a defined threshold on nuclear material or fails to adhere to a deadline on negotiations....

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