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Netanyahu’s ‘Iran doctrine’ sidelines everything else

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to impose the Iranian threat at the center of the security agenda, sidelining other significant issues and even determining the rhetoric of his rivals.
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018. REUTERS/ Amir Cohen - RC168D0D1A70
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March 2019 will mark a decade since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power, and a decade of him pushing his agenda of placing the Iranian nuclear program at the top of security threats to the State of Israel. Even if Netanyahu is not prime minister in March 2019, it’s already clear that he has succeeded in determining the Iranian nuclear program as the critical item in Israel’s diplomatic-security policy. This was a long process that saw peaks and valleys. It started with preparations for an Israeli strike on Iran in 2009-2012, which later expired with the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal under the Obama administration. In many respects, the nuclear deal was considered a failure for Netanyahu, as his political rivals contended that the terrible deal (from Netanyahu’s point of view) was the result of his shaky relationship with then US President Barack Obama.

On May 8, US President Donald Trump delivered an incredible turnaround to the Iran-Netanyahu saga, with his dramatic withdrawal from the deal and the renewal of the sanctions regime. Netanyahu could not have hoped for a better scenario. He marked himself as the victor, only a week after his political rivals, led by Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, accused him of gravely damaging the work of the Mossad by presenting on April 30 the Iranian documents Mossad captured from Iran.

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