Meir Feldman
Founder Project 97b, Rabbi Emeritus TBE-Great Neck

P-5+1 game changers

Prime Minister Netanyahu is right that with this international agreement, the threat of lethal terror from Hezbollah and Hamas will be drastically more serious than before the agreement. Every serious observer knows, and the Ayatollah has said it publicly, that with the billions that shortly will flow into Iranian coffers, Hezbollah and Hamas will receive significant increases in the military support they receive from Iran.

President Obama says that he is deeply and sincerely invested in Israel’s well-being. He claims to be very aware of the new and regrettable risks that Israel will face, as a result of the P-5+1 agreement, in which Iran will receiving billions and sending $100’s of millions to its proxies. The President has a game-changing opportunity to prove his deep concern.

Now is the time, as well, for Israel’s Prime Minister to establish a game-changer for the Middle East. Israel and the United States have a powerful and rare opportunity to change the terms of the geo-political game, the game we’ve known and played for the last 100 years, certainly since Israel became a sovereign State.

Maybe there was a compelling logic to limiting the Iran agreement solely to Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Maybe there were reasons to not condition that agreement on a transformation of Iran vis-a-vis its hatred toward and constant threats to annihilate Israel. But the time has come for the United States to formally declare to Iran and the world that: An attack against Israel is an attack against the United States. Any attack against Israel, by Hezbollah and/or Hamas (read Iran), from the north or the south, is an attack against the United States. And thus, if the Israeli government should make the request, the United States military, including ground troops, will be dispatched to defend Israel against Iran and her proxies, to the north and south of Israel.” A  game-changer is in sight.

There is little logic for vast numbers of American troops in Iraq and Syria. There is compelling logic for American troops, if Israel requests them, to be on Israeli soil.  Hamas and Hezbollah must know that to attack Israel is to attack the United States. The people of Beirut and Gaza City and of Tehran must know that using new money to intimidate and murder Israelis, will come with the highest price tag — the full force of the United States military.

Here’s one more game-changer. Now is the time for not only the United States, but for of all the P-5+1 countries to publicly and aggressively recognize the existential threat that this  nuclear agreement creates for Israel.  P-5+1 countries have a huge opportunity to make clear that disputes between Israel and the Palestinians will absolutely not be settled by Iranian sponsored violence against Israel. Thus, now is the time for all of the P-5+1 countries to declare their explicit support for Israel and to inform Iran, and her proxies who threaten Israel’s very existence, that violent attacks against Israel will generate massive quantities of new military support for Israel.

Since 2006, Israel has had to fight a war against Iran — read Hezbollah and Hamas — almost every other year (2006, 2008, 2011, 2014). Who could possibly doubt that the next war will wait even until 2020!

Israel has been extraordinary over its lifetime at finding great opportunities in the midst of seemingly dire realities. Israeli game-changers have come about virtually every decade. This moment must be no different than so many others that have come before.

Now is the time, for President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, to change the game. Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, do everything in your powers to ensure that Iran’s proxies will face the full weight of the American military if they attack Israel.  Do everything in your powers to ensure that the P-5+1 countries transform their public words of support for Israel into very concrete promises, letting Iran know that violence against Israel will only bring greater support for the Jewish state. Messrs. President and Prime Minister, change the game. Opportunity, not just crisis, is knocking.

About the Author
On September 1, 2022 we completed our aliyah. Our two children made aliyah, thankfully, 2 and 4 years ago. For 13 years, I was the co-senior rabbi at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck with my wife Rabbi Tara Feldman. We now are the Rabbis Emeritus of TBE. Before our lives in Great Neck, we lived with our then young children in Jerusalem for 18 months. Before Meir's life as a rabbi, he was a lawyer for over 7 years -- first at a Wall Street law firm and then as an Assistant United States Attorney in LA.
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