Israeli generals balk at PM’s Iran policy

WASHINGTON — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is convinced that Iran is on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapon. He believes that the Iranians cannot be deterred through diplomacy, and he views the Iranian threat as one that may bring about a second Jewish Holocaust.

His generals disagree.

In one of the most astounding public breaks by the Israeli national security establishment with a sitting Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu’s own military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, said in an interview with the Israeli daily Haaretz, “I think the Iranian leadership is comprised of very rational people. … Iran is moving step by step toward a point where it will be able to decide if it wants to make a nuclear bomb. It has not decided yet whether to go the extra mile.”

In the past several months, as Netanyahu has ramped up his warnings about Iran, this statement reflects how senior Israeli national security leaders from the military and intelligence communities have pushed back. In addition to Gantz, the current head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Tamir Pardo, has stated that Iran does not pose an existential threat to Israel. And many more retired military and intelligence leaders echo the same sentiment.

Gantz and Pardo are not an aberration. They are the consensus. Their professional views mirror those of their counterparts in the United States — Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — who have said that Iran hasn’t decided to make a nuclear bomb and whose leadership makes rational decisions.

Read the full article on the The Jewish Chronicle.

Photo by Israeli Defense Forces