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Israel Must Invest to Deter Iran

Alon Ben David writes that investing in preparing a military option against a potential Iranian nuclear weapon is not an "adventurous fantasy."
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line on the graphic of a bomb used to represent Iran's nuclear program as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012. The red line he drew represents a point where he believes, the international community should tell Iran that they will not be allowed to pass without intervention. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR38I7P
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It’s a safe bet that investing in building military capabilities vis-à-vis Iran will continue in the next government, regardless of its composition. Against the backdrop of the immense NIS 39 billion [US$8 billion] deficit revealed several weeks ago in the 2012 budget, ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of needlessly spending NIS 11 billion [US$3 billion] of the budget on "adventurous fantasies." But it would be hard to imagine an Israeli prime minister who wouldn't have invested in preparing a military option to stop Iran's nuclear program. Even if this contingency never materializes, the ability to use it as a threat could prove a sound investment in the long run.

Even the “new” Netanyahu — the one who, in his victory/concession speech on the night of the elections suddenly revealed that the “quest for peace” was a basic tenet of his government — still places the struggle against Iran as the top challenge facing his future government. Anyone who has met Netanyahu in recent years gets the impression that he views his life’s mission — the destiny thrust upon him by history — as stopping Tehran’s nuclear program. This mission, which was completely absent from the election campaign, will reappear on the agenda once the government line-up is completed.

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