Security cabinet convenes for 10-hour Iran session

Highly classified body meets to hear intelligence assessments, is believed to have discussed timelines, "zones of immunity."

Interior of Bushehr nuclear plant 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer Iran)
Interior of Bushehr nuclear plant 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer Iran)
The 14-member Security Cabinet, the body authorized to approve military attacks, met Tuesday to hear the annual intelligence assessments provided by the country’s intelligence agencies.
The 10-hour meeting is believed to be the first time in months that this body conducted an in-depth discussion on Iran that is believed to have included timelines, Iran’s “zones of immunity,” and what sanctions could still be adopted.
The situation in Egypt and Syria was also discussed.
The forum is highly classified, and even advisers to the ministers were not allowed into the meeting that took place in the center of the country.
The ministers were briefed by the heads of the Mossad, Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) and Military Intelligence.
No further details were made available. While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s inner cabinet, which is made up of eight ministers, can give an advisory opinion on whether to attack Iran, the actual decision needs to be made by the security cabinet. This body could also choose to bring such a decision to the full 29-member cabinet.
In addition to Netanyahu, the security cabinet includes Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias, Minister-without- Portfolio Bennie Begin, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau, Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom.
Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat
Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat
This body includes eight Likud ministers, three from Yisrael Beytenu, two from Shas and Barak from the Independence Party. Another four ministers are observers.
It is likely that among the issues discussed were the “red lines” that Israel would like the United States to establish as a way of deterring Iran from moving ahead. While Netanyahu has not publicly declared what he thinks those red lines should be, Uzi Arad, the former head of the National Security Council, said that they could include a declaration that any uranium enrichment beyond 20 percent would be a direct trigger for military action.
Arad, in an Israel Radio interview, said other possible red lines could be the discovery of additional uranium enrichment plants – like the once secret facilities at Natanz and Fordow – or the interference with the work of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.
In addition, Arad said that the US has not yet spoken in “categorical terms” making crystal clear its determination to stop the Iranian nuclear march.
An example of this, he said, would be clearer presidential declarations to the effect that the US will not tolerate or allow a nuclear Iran, and will use all means to prevent it.
Other “categorical” expressions of this determination, Arad said, could be congressional authorization now of the use of force if diplomacy fails to convince the Iranians to halt, and a clear statement that the military objective of any US action would not be to “buy time,” but rather to prevent Iran from ever being able to build a nuclear bomb.