Israel now considers Iran to have "crossed the technological threshold" toward building a nuclear weapon, in the words of Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, head of Israeli military intelligence, who warned that U.S. and European diplomatic overtures to Iran will very likely backfire. The Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reports:
Iran's attainment of nuclear military capability is now a matter of "incorporating the goal of producing an atomic bomb into its strategy," OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the cabinet on Sunday.
"Iran is continuing to amass hundreds of kilograms of low-enriched uranium, and it hopes to exploit the dialogue with the West and Washington to advance toward the production of an atomic bomb," he said.
Yossi Melman, the highly regarded intelligence correspondent for the liberal daily Ha'aretz, lays out the details of how Israeli snoops see the American-Iranian quid pro quo shaping up:
The new U.S. administration has improved Tehran's position. The U.S. changed its approach after concluding that prior threats and sanctions had failed to have an effect. President Barack Obama intends to talk with the ayatollahs and to offer them a broad deal: a resolution in Iraq, a joint battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, recognition of Iran's regional position and economic incentives. In return, Washington hopes Iran will agree to cease uranium enrichment. The U.S. also hopes to rally Russian support for this policy, in return for not deploying an anti-ballistic missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic. However the chances that these international efforts will convince Iran to step down from uranium enrichment are slim. Iran's aim, as the MI chief said Sunday, is to gain time to improve its technological capabilities.
Israelis Torn Over Price of Freeing Captured Soldier
In the waning days of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's tenure, he is being beset by a demonstration outside his official residence led by the parents of Gilad Shalit, the soldier kidnapped by Gazan militants in June 2006. The Shalits are demanding that Olmert win their son's release. However, across the street from this protest is a counterdemonstration by the parents of terrorism victims, who insist that Olmert not release hundreds of convicted Palestinian terrorists—the price Hamas is demanding for Shalit's freedom. The Jerusalem Post reports:
From morning until late in the night, Noam and Aviva Schalit sat in a white tent surrounded by dozens of supporters.
Large banners demanding their son's release were plastered all around the tent. One sign noted that Schalit had been in captivity for 987 days.
But across the corner, in front of the Restobar—the site of the former Moment Café, where 11 people were killed by a suicide bomber on March 9, 2002—sat two bereaved parents with exactly the opposite request.
Anti-Semitism in Europe Seen as Potential Boon to Zionism
The rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and elsewhere following Israel's war in Gaza has gotten the nation's back up. Guy Bechor, a columnist for Ynetnews, the country's largest daily, compares the current atmosphere in Europe to that of the 1930s and urges European Jews to immigrate en masse to Israel, saying it will be good for them and good for Zionism.
Leave the continent that fondly recalls its anti-Semitism; we in Israel need you. The addition of hundreds of thousands of wealthy Jews will boost Israel, end the illusions of any Israeli Arabs who dream about a demographic victory, and make Israel's economic supremacy absolute. You, who will be arriving in Israel now, will turn it not into one of the world's 20 wealthiest countries—this has already been achieved—but rather, one of the 10 richest countries on the globe.
The Jewish community in Israel always grew during periods of persecution against Jews—after all, this is the objective of Zionism, and this way we revert to the simplest ideological basis of the national Jewish movement: Serving as a home for Jews who are persecuted around the world.
As opposed to what you have become accustomed to hearing from the global media, for you, the Jews of Europe.
- Read more Mideast Watch.
- Comment on What Should the United States Do About Iran's Nuclear Program?
- Read more about Iran and Israel.