Jerusalem, Nov. 25 – Two former top Israeli generals both closely connected to the peace process warned that Iran poses an extreme threat to Israel, saying it was existential to the Jewish state and unacceptable.
The two spoke at the conference on “Israeli Security in a New Regional Environment", sponsored by the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center at Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University.
“Israel can't afford to wonder if Tehran will go crazy and bomb us," said Maj. Gen. (res.) Danny Yatom, a former head of the Mossad and security advisor in the government of former prime minister and current defense minister Ehud Barak.
“To us, the Iranian nuclear weapons program is an existential threat," Yatom said, emphasizing that the Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons was a global problem.
The world does not have much time left to act on Iran, the former Mossad head warned, adding that "there is an evaluation that they have crossed the red line. They have the knowledge to make the bomb. All that is needed now is the decision to do it.... The world has a year in which to halt the Iranian nuclear weapons program, probably less."
Maj. Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan said “Tehran's nuclear program is an unacceptable threat" that has to be dealt with severely by the international community. Dayan, a former top peace negotiator with the Palestinians and chief of the IDF’s military intelligence division said he felt that the crippling economic sanctions being imposed by Western countries would help dissuade the Iranian people.
"States like Egypt are already losing control of their own territory, and Israel can expect increased cross-border attacks and terrorism,” said BESA director Prof. Efraim Inbar, who added that with the instability of the Arab Spring Israel had to invest more in defense so that “we'll be ready for challenges five years or more down the road."