Ehud Yaari is one of Israel's top military analysts. He recently wrote an excellent analysis of the issues facing Israel as Iran pursues nuclear weapons. Here's an excerpt:
Israel has no great appetite for taking on Iran on its own, recognizing the difficulties involved in an attack, as well as the potential that Iran could retaliate either with its Shehab-3 missiles, already operational, by embarking upon a large-scale terrorism campaign or by having Hezbollah ignite a conflict on the Lebanese front. "Many view the military option as the '"worst possible course" other than tolerating an Iran equipped with nuclear warheads. The Israeli leadership would, therefore, prefer action by the United States to stop Iran from acquiring a bomb, either through diplomatic dialogue, effective sanctions, or - if it came to it - military strikes. Needless to say, a U.S. attack is bound to be much wider in scope and more devastating than any blow delivered by the Israel Defense Forces.
At the same time, many in Israel feel strongly that the country does possess the military capability to launch a successful strike against a limited number of Iranian nuclear installations to delay the pace of Iran's nuclear program by at least a couple of years. At least some in Israel believe that Iranian reprisals would be more restrained than public warnings from Tehran might indicate and that Hezbollah may attempt to employ its long-range Iranian missiles in a manner that would not necessarily lead to full-scale war. The argument would be that although the organization's long-range missiles are effectively under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Qods Force, Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah would hesitate to provoke the Israelis into undertaking an all-out counteroffensive. Some Israelis argue that Iran would not necessarily retaliate against the United States and its Arab allies in the Gulf or Iraq for fear of compelling President Obama to strike back.
Yaari also makes the point that Israel's political and military leadership often refrain from public debate about the Iran problem. I would agree. We've been reporting on this story for several years and consistently Israeli officials deflect the issue about Israel attacking Iran. They make the point Iran is a global problem, not simply an Israeli problem.
For those interested in this situation (and it is a global problem!) I would heartily recommend his analysis. If you'd like to read his entire commentary, you can click here.