The respected former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy added his voice Saturday to the chorus of ex-security chiefs warning against an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and also said he doubted such a strike would take place.
“It would not be desirable for Israel to act alone,” he said in a Channel 2 interview. “I don’t think it will happen.”
Last Wednesday, Halevy said in a widely cited Israel Radio interview that, “If I were an Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks.” Halevy, who is also a former national security adviser and ambassador, added that Israel’s threats of military action had a certain “credibility” and “seriousness.”
In his Saturday interview, he reiterated that the next few weeks would be “critical.”
He also said that the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear drive constituted “perhaps the gravest threat” that the state of Israel had ever faced, but that he did not consider it to be “existential” because it was his belief that “Israel cannot be destroyed as a state.”
Halevy’s successor as Mossad chief, Meir Dagan, has been publicly criticizing talk of an Israeli strike ever since he ended his term last year. Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin has also denounced the idea. And Israel’s current military and security chiefs are reported to oppose an Israeli strike at this stage.
Halevy was speaking a day after another former intelligence chief said an Israeli military strike on Iran may be just weeks or at most a couple of months away, while stressing that he personally did not think the time was right for an Israeli attack.
“It seems to me,” said Aharon Zeevi Farkash, former head of Military Intelligence in the IDF, “that [an Israeli attack] could come in the near future… that is, weeks or a couple of months.”
Farkash, also interviewed on Israel’s Channel 2 News, added, “The Iranians have to understand” that if they don’t halt their nuclear drive, “they will ultimately have to absorb a blow to their main military sites, from an international coalition, or from the US, or perhaps from Israel.”
Personally, Farkash added, he did not think the time was yet right for a resort by Israel to military action. The decision-makers should “think twice,” he said.
On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had not yet decided whether to order military intervention to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive.
When the time did come to decide, he added, objections from military and security chiefs would not prevent him and his government colleagues from ordering a military strike should they deem it necessary.
Also Tuesday, the IDF Chief of the General Staff Benny Gantz said the IDF was “prepared, and ready to act” and that, for the IDF, the oft-repeated statement that “all options are on the table” is “not a slogan, it’s a work plan.”