Last week, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and 44 GOP cosponsors introduced a bill offering support for an Israeli attack on Iran to “eliminate nuclear threats.” Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon seems to have received the message, recently calling for the “civilized world” to use every tool, including a military strike, to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. “We strongly hope that the entire civilized world will come to realize what threat this regime is posing and take joint action to avert the nuclear threat posed by Iran, even if it would be necessary to conduct a pre-emptive strike,” Yaalon told Interfax.
Perhaps Yaalon’s extreme views line up with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but Israel’s security elite reportedly believe this line of thinking is over the top. The Forward’s J.J. Goldberg, in a column earlier this month, looked at the eighteen former heads of Israel’s main security services and found that those like Yaalon who continue to support Netanyahu’s hard-line policies are in the minority. Goldberg wrote:
There are 18 living ex-chiefs: seven Mossad, six IDF and five Shin Bet. No fewer than eight of them are actively working against Netanyahu in one way or another. Another four have made their alarm publicly clear, though they aren’t aggressively campaigning right now. That’s 12, if you’re keeping score. Two of them have openly called Netanyahu’s policies and leadership a threat to Israel’s future — just in the past few weeks.
Of the remaining six ex-chiefs, four retired years ago and keep their views to themselves. And two support Netanyahu. Both of them, ex-IDF chiefs Ehud Barak and Moshe Yaalon, are ministers in Netanyahu’s government.
Yaalon has faithfully toed the line for Israeli settlers and those who seek to promote a military conflict with Iran, firmly securing his right wing credentials in Netanyahu’s cabinet. In 2008, he told the Sydney Morning Herald, “We have to consider killing [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad].”
While Yaalon continues to support taking any and all means necessary to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan has been outspoken about the dangers posed by an Israeli attack on Iran and, in remarks delivered in May, called the idea of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities “one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard.” He predicted that a military strike would have little chance of success.