Israel's New Opposition Leader
Speaks Out against Strikes on Iran
April 4, 2012 (EIRNS)—The security establishment in Israel, which is openly opposed to any Israeli strike against Iran, has now won an important political ally, in the person of Shaul Mofaz, who won a surprise victory over former Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni with a resounding 62% of the vote on March 28. Mofaz, a former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and a former Defense Minister, has been an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "let's bomb Iran" policy.
Mofaz's close advisors include the former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, who has expressed opposition to an Iran attack, and former Shin Bet director Avi Dichter, who is very cautious on the issue.
In an interview with the Israeli daily Ha'aretz shortly after his victory, Mofaz accused Netanyahu of exploiting the Iranian nuclear threat for political reasons.
"This is an existential threat, but the Americans have to lead a global struggle. I believe Israel must keep all possible options in hand, and the military option has to be the last option resorted to, and the United States has to lead it.... Should a situation arise in which it does not act, and the Iranians are on the brink of going nuclear, and there is a need to carry out a military operation—I will stand alongside the prime minister and will do everything I can to help him. But we are far from such a situation—at least two years away. Netanyahu's irresponsible statements implying that something has to be done within a few months create a bad reality."
The impressive number of former Chiefs of Staff, including Gabi Ashkenazi, Moshe Ya'alon, Armon Lipken Shahak, as well as Mofaz and Halutz, and former Mossad heads, including Meir Dagan and Efram Halevy, who have all come out against military strikes, will now have a strong voice in the Knesset. And all visiting heads of state and foreign ministers will be meeting Mofaz as head of the opposition.