Articles about the threat of a war over Iran’s nuclear programme often refer to Israeli pressure for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. There is no doubt that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister and Ehud Barak, his defence minister, are in the hawkish camp on Iran. What is much less clear is whether these two actually speak for Israel as a whole – or even for the whole of the government.
This report from Haaretz, a liberal Israeli paper, has two interesting snippets in it. First, it suggests that Netanyahu and Barak are still struggling to win clear-cut support for an attack from an inner quorum of eight senior ministers in the government. (It is already well known that several senior figures in the Israeli security establishment are opposed to an attack.) Second, the paper reports an opinion poll that suggests that less than 50% of the Israeli public currently support an attack on Iran. The poll suggests 41% in favour, and 39% opposed – with the rest undecided. And when Israelis are asked if they support a unilateral attack, without US support – and that’s the only real option, at the moment – then opposition rises to 58% against an attack.