Confronting the burgeoning Iranian nuclear program with a palpable degree of gravitas, Halevy, who also served as Israel’s national security adviser, said the Iranian threat was “very serious,” and that “the Iranians are misleading the world.” He added that “every means” should be used to quash Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Presently, however, he cautioned, “We shouldn’t discount negotiations” and shouldn’t “underestimate the president of the USA. Barack Obama understands the rule of game.”
“I have the indelible impression that Iran is dead scared of Israel,” he said and intimated that in his perspective, Iran “will not make it” to the bomb.
As is widely known, Israel is already fighting a secret war against Iran; reportedly assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, planting computer viruses in the heart of Iranian scientific complexes, destroying centrifuges by taking over their operating programs and making them spin themselves to destruction, and booby-trapping key items that Iran imports from foreign countries.
According to a February 2013 report by NBC News, Israel’s military prowess is growing and there is “a palpable shift in thinking in Israel about launching an airstrike on Iran.”
“It’s no longer a question of if but when,” replied one Israeli analyst when asked if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would respond militarily if Iran crossed his “red lines” and acquired a nuclear bomb.
The report indicated that in the past, analysts held the strong belief that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would be pressured by President Obama to avoid any unilateral action that might trigger an unforeseen Arab conflagration against Israel. But some Israeli analysts are now saying that Netanyahu seems much less worried than Obama about a lethal Arab response to an airstrike on Iran.
While delivering remarks to the audience of over 400, Halevy said that Israel’s existence “is not in danger and shouldn’t be questioned” despite a variety of security challenges. Concerning the trajectory of the protracted Syrian civil war, Halevy acknowledged that Israel now “has a serious problem” noting that rebel forces are present on what had for decades been a quiet border, and that “some rebel leaders have said they will do what President Bashar Assad couldn’t do, and that’s to regain the Golan Heights.”
Both Hezbollah and Iran are aware of the fact that Israel is perhaps the fifth largest nuclear power on the planet, and possesses weapons that can wreak total destruction on entire cities In addition, at least some of Israel’s nuclear weapons are located on submarines in the Mediterranean ocean, which means that the country is invulnerable to the madness of a take-out first strike by any other nation.
Also speaking at the Zionist Federation event was Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain’s MI6 secret intelligence service, who described Iran as “a state with many flaws and weakness, and a political system that is very fragile. There is a way through this crisis,” he insisted.
“Iran is equivalent to a dangerous adolescent, but one does not want that adolescent to have access to certain technologies and weapons. The route the international community is on is the best and most practical,” Dearlove added.
Hinting at the possibility of the regime falling, he said, “I wouldn’t actually rule out significant political change in Iran. Politics in Iran is not stable.” He noted that Iranians see the collapse of the Assad regime in Syria as “the start of an attack on the viability of their own regime.”
Extending plaudits to the Zionist Federation as one of “the most passionate, energetic and effective organizations working to support the state of Israel… at the very forefront of making Israel’s case”, was Daniel Taub, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK. Making an oblique reference in which he equated anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, Taub noted, “In today’s climate if you are anti-Semitic, probably the most convenient avenue for you to express your hatred is through hatred of the state of Israel.” Israel, he said, “has many faults and we are working to correct them. But we also have to remember that at its core the hostility towards Israel has nothing to do with our failures. In fact it’s the contrary, it has to do with its success.”
He added that the international campaign to demonize Israel was not predicated on attacking Israel’s perceived faults but rather is an expression of anger and frustration that despite being incessantly ridiculed, Israel is thriving. “The fanatics who disrupt Israeli performers and Israeli orchestras, who try to shut down Israeli speakers or try to cut ties with Histadrut, the only democratic trade union in the Middle East — all of these people don’t care about Israel’s faults. What they cannot accept is that despite all their efforts to the contrary, Israel is alive and well and flourishing economically and culturally. It’s investing and creating, winning Nobel prizes, helping the third world in agriculture and medicine… That is the Israel the ZF is supporting.”
Alan Aziz, the director of the Zionist Federation — which runs more than 170 events a year including seminars, advocacy campaigns, training programs, demonstrations and cultural events — said the event was sold out, and that the audience included the heads of 35 other organizations.
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