Is Israel preparing to attack Iran? According to media reports, Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to convince his ministers to go on the offensive. If that is true, Netanyahu will go down in history as the prime minister who saved the State of Israel from destruction – not necessarily nuclear.
There is no doubt that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will bring swift retaliation on Israel, the results of which are unforeseeable. On the surface, as long as there is a chance to neutralize Iran’s nuclear capabilities via other methods; diplomatic, electronic, economic and the like, it is not logical to prefer the military option. Presumably, the ministers who oppose the attack are considering the question through this very keyhole: Can we stop Iran in some other way or is the military option the only route available?
Clearly, the non-military options are like a finger in the dike. As long as the Muslim motivation continues to rise on the other side of the wall, it is just a matter of time until the dike breaks. Further, as time goes by, the mission becomes more difficult and complex. The reactor in Bushehr is already hot. Until about two years ago, it could have been destroyed without much environmental damage. That is no longer the case.
The difference between now and two years ago is that Netanyahu’s public approval rating is better now than it was then. And when it comes to a prime minister from the right, a political window of opportunity is just as necessary as an operational window of opportunity. If the social protest movement had managed to curtail Netanyahu’s popularity, there may not have been any government deliberations about attacking Iran. If we are in a political and operational window of opportunity right now, we must give the prime minister all the support that he needs on this existential issue.
Considering the attack strictly through the keyhole of cost and gain does not portray a true picture of the dismal reality. Nuclear weapons are not the greatest danger to the existence of the State of Israel. One third of our nation was destroyed in Europe without them. The Germans’ main weapon was the delegitimization of our right to exist. Strategically, delegitimization is much more dangerous than any nuclear weapon, for its practical application is only a matter of time – with or without nuclear capabilities.
When the Iranian leader declared his intent to destroy us, the world stood collectively held its breath in anticipation of Israel’s retaliation. When that did not happen, the historical question mark that hangs over the right of the Jews to breathe the air on this planet reappeared.
Whether the Jews have a right to a state or whether they have a right to exist at all was not asked in important Western universities until the world realized that we are willing to live with Iran’s intention to destroy us. The Iranian Amalek and the German Amalek work the same way as the Biblical Amalek. They declare an existential war against us, are willing to pay a price and negate our legitimacy in the eyes of the nations. The Holocaust did not begin with the outbreak of war but, rather, in Hitler’s hate-filled speeches and in the Der Sturmer propaganda.
The ministers who oppose an attack do not understand that the results of the attack are not what matters. Israel must attack Iran in order to restore the legitimacy of its very existence. Israel must restore the equation that says that whoever plans to destroy us automatically becomes a legitimate target for destruction. Bushehr is not the only target, but every plane, car and building in which the heads of Iran’s regime are to be found.
This column was translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper
About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.
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