Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute
As the tension between Israel and Iran intensifies, and while Iran has just unveiled its first hypersonic missile, rumors about advancement in the Iranian nuclear program are growing even more distressing. While Israel threatens Iran not to try to attack it, Iran threatens back that it will demolish Israel if it attacks Iran. What is worse, in this round of the conflict, Israel seems more isolated than ever, as even the US seems reluctant to act against the Ayatollah regime.
When it comes to America, I never had much confidence in its support of Israel. While the US did supply Israel with weapons and ammunition during wartime, its position and actions on other occasions concerning Israel’s security have been less supportive. America, we must remember, also has its own interests to look after, which do not always coincide with Israeli interests. Therefore, at the end of the day, we should not hang our hopes on America.
Concerning Iran, I do not think that the threat of a nuclear Iran is as serious as the Iranians would like us to think. More than it is a weapon of mass destruction, a nuclear weapon is a tactical weapon. It is a political tool intended to improve Iran’s position in the Arab world.
The Arab world has been engaged for centuries in power struggles between Sunnis, represented today by Saudi Arabia, and Shiites, whose representative is Iran. The majority of Muslims in the world is Sunni, and Iran has been on the defense in its struggle to dominate the Arab world. Clearly, an atomic bomb that can threaten Israel, as well as the rest of the world, will place Iran in a completely different position, especially since no other country in the Persian Gulf has nuclear weapons.
The Iranians are not a mob of hooligans. Their leaders are calculated and do not act rashly. In the pursuit of prestige, the ability to threaten Israel with nuclear warheads is a great card that should be used wisely and not wasted away by a reckless mistake, and Iran knows this very well.
Moreover, Iran is convinced Israel has its own nuclear arsenal and, according to foreign reports, can retaliate against any attack on its people with horrible consequences. Therefore, it may be instrumental for Iran to threaten, to try to frighten Israel, but I find it hard to believe that it would take any action to realize its threats.
In many ways, the situation between a nuclear Iran and a hypothetically nuclear Israel would be similar to the situation that existed between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In those days, both countries developed more and more nuclear weapons, but both countries were equally careful not to use it; they knew that if they did, there would be no way back and the world would be destroyed.
In my opinion, the presence of nuclear weapons in both Iran and, according to foreign sources, in Israel decreases the chance of active hostilities between the countries rather than increases it. Both countries know that starting a war against a country with nuclear weapons makes no sense whatsoever. Therefore, Israel must stay vigilant, prepare to retaliate quickly and forcefully, but avoid reckless actions.
In other words, nuclear weapons could actually calm Iran and lead it to a more pragmatic policy than currently.
Where I would be careful, though, when it comes to Iran, is in its use of proxy paramilitary and military terror groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Here, we must be active, initiating, and decisive.