Journal Article - Survival

Striking Iran: The Debate in Israel

| December 2012–January 2013


A difficult security environment, electoral system and bureaucratic structure create five pathologies for Israel's national-security decision-making process.

"In recent months Israel's political and defence leaders have engaged in an unprecedented and vociferous public debate about Iran's nuclear programme, and about the advisability of an Israeli strike to destroy or delay it. Meir Dagan, the former head of the secret intelligence service Mossad, called an Israeli attack, at this time, 'the stupidest thing I have ever heard of', warned that it might ignite a regional war and stated that there was still a window of some three years, while the former head of the internal security agency Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin, stated that he did 'not trust' Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's 'messianic' leadership. 1 The former chief of staff (2007–11) of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Gabi Ashkenazi, has been more restrained, but has made clear his opposition to an operation at this time, and even the current chief of staff, bound by the strictures of his office, has let it be known that he is not enthusiastic...."

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1Yossi Melman, 'Former Mossad Chief: Israel Air Strike on Iran "Stupidest Thing I Have Ever Heard"', Haaretz, 7 May 2011; Yaakov Lappin, 'Former Shin Bet Chief Slams "Messianic" PM, Barak', Jerusalem Post, 29 April 2012.

For more information on this publication: Please contact International Security
For Academic Citation: Freilich, Charles D.. Striking Iran: The Debate in Israel.” Survival, vol. 54. no. 6. (December 2012–January 2013):