No, it’s not about Iran

Netanyahu doesn’t need Mofaz to attack Iran because Israelis already trust him on this issue.

May 21, 2012 14:34
Mofaz and Netanyahu at cabinet meeting

Mofaz and Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

In arguing last week that the new unity government’s impetus was primarily domestic, I’m in the minority: The more popular explanation is Iran. And it’s certainly true, as Charles Krauthammer noted, that unity governments are sometimes formed to create public legitimacy for military action; 1967 is the classic example. It’s also true, as other commentators have noted, that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wanted to bolster the government’s security credentials in light of the vehement opposition to attacking Iran voiced by respected security experts like former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin, there’s nothing like having three former IDF chiefs of staff in the cabinet: Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and now, Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz.

But I don’t think Netanyahu ever had a legitimacy problem over Iran, because polls consistently show the public siding with him rather than Dagan and Diskin. After Diskin charged last month that Netanyahu and Barak were “messianists” who couldn’t be trusted on Iran, for instance, a subsequent poll found that the public disagreed by a 2:1 margin. And far from concurring with Dagan that attacking Iran is “a stupid idea,” two-thirds of Israelis say that if other measures fail, attacking Iran is preferable to living with Iranian nukes.


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