meir dagan 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan addressed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee for the last time on Monday, and modified his previous statement that
Iran will not have nuclear weapons until the middle of the decade.
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explained that the timeline estimates do “not change the fact that Iran is
working toward nuclear military capabilities and in certain scenarios can
shorten the time” it takes to attain nuclear weapons.
Two weeks ago,
Dagan said that Teheran would not have nuclear capabilities before the middle of
the decade, and that Israel should only act militarily against Iran if it felt
real, present and immediate danger, as if a dagger were resting on its
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu distanced himself from Dagan’s
relatively sanguine mid-decade prognosis, saying publicly last week that these
were only “intelligence estimates.”
He apparently was concerned that if
the world thought the Iranians were still a few years away from the bomb, it
would ease up the pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Dagan, in the Knesset
on Monday, said, “It is important for us to learn the lesson of North Korea,
which wasn’t taken care of properly and didn’t get attention from the
The former Mossad head also discussed other
“challenges” that Israel may face in the future, including the possibility of a
Palestinian state and the war against terror.
Dagan mentioned Shi’ite
terrorism in the north, specifically Hizbullah, which he called a significant
threat due to its stockpiles of weapons and its ability to attack densely
populated areas inside Israel.
He also said that Israel has to deal with
the threats of global jihad.
Israel “will need to deal with these
challenges, and in my estimation it will do so successfully,” he
After Dagan spoke, MK Avi Dichter (Kadima), former head of the Shin
Bet (Israel Security Agency), told him: “Many people owe their lives to the
organization you lead.
Maybe some people owe their deaths to you. I’m
happy for the former and not sorry for the latter.”
MK Shaul Mofaz
(Kadima), head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, opposition head
Tzipi Livni and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin thanked Dagan for his contribution
to the nation’s security.