Anyone trying to foresee coming events in the Middle East would do well to read the Haaretz article “Netanyahu: If Israel doesn’t take out Iranian threat, no one will.” The article quotes Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu speaking to political allies in Israel one week after his visit with President Obama: “Israel is not like other countries. We are faced with security challenges that no other country faces, and our need to provide a response to these is critical, and we are answering the call.”
Netanyahu alludes to a specific threat that Israel alone has the commitment to address: “These are not regular times. The danger is hurtling toward us. The real danger [is] in underestimating the threat. My job is first and foremost to ensure the future of the state of Israel … the leadership’s job is to eliminate the danger. Who will eliminate it? It is us or no one.”
Netanyahu’s quoted comments do not themselves refer to Iran. Haaretz supplies the reference; the comments as quoted retain an element of ambiguity, both with respect to the threat and Israel’s intention. Nevertheless, the reference to Iran is plain, and I infer from it that Israel will attempt to eliminate the threat posed by its nuclear program.
Netanyahu’s quoted comments recall the famous queries posed by the Jewish sage Hillel: “”If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am not for others, what am I?” The last of the queries goes: “And if not now, when?”