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Benjamin Netanyahu
photo by Raymond Hall

Editor’s Report: Something Caught my attention on Israeli Television Re: Election Results

by Rhonda Spivak, November 6, 2022


I was watching Israeli television in Hebrew when  Tzachi Hanegbi, who has been a long time ally and confidant Benjamin Netanyahu said something that caught my attention. Hanegbi said he believes Netanyahu, who has just been elected for the 6th time to be Israel’s Prime Minister , will order a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities if the US does not obtain a new nuclear deal with Tehran and fails to take action itself.


Speaking to Channel 12 news on Nov 4 ,Tzachi Hanegbi said that in such a situation, Netanyahu “will act, in my assessment, to destroy the nuclear facilities in Iran.”


Hanegbi, a longtime Likud MK and former minister who is not expected to make it into the next Knesset (since he too low on the the party’s slate in primaries), noted that twice before Netanyahu tried to attack Iran, but on both ocassions he did not have a majority on the cabinet agreeing with him, such that no attack took place.


Hanegbi said on Nov 4 that confronting the Iranian nuclear threat was “a fire that’s been burning inside him [Netanyahu] for more than 25 years.” He assessed that if no action is taken, “Israel will for the first time be facing a regime with nuclear weapons,” and said that Netanyahu “will not reconcile himself  to a nuclear Iran.”


Hanegbi said, “In my assessment, he’ll have no choice [but to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities]”,  just as Prime Minister Begin  approved the 1981 strike that destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osiraq, and  Prime Minister Olmert approved  the 2007 strike on Syria’s reactor at Al Kibar.


One of the journalists asked Hanegbi directly if Netanyahu had actually told him of such plans, Hanegbi responded “It’s my assessment, based on my over 35 years of knowing Netanyahu… When there is no choice, someone needs to take command — it will be Netanyahu.”


I’ve been wondering whether, notwithstanding the above, Hanegbi coordinated his remarks in advance with Netanyahu. Maybe Netanyahu wants to remind the U.S. and the world that his next term in office will be defined by what he does  about the Iranian issue.


Hanegbi’s remarks have me thinking about the fact that a more right wing cabinet is more likely to give Netanyahu a green light in attacking Iran, if need be, to prevent it from going nuclear.


Hanegbi has served in numerous ministries in Netanyahu-led governments in the past, such as  the ministry of regional cooperation, agriculture, public security, transportation, justice and environment. 

Although Israel’s Air Force has long been training to potentially strike Iran’s nuclear sites to stop it from developing a nuclear weapon, it is unclear that it has the capacity to cripple the Iran’s well-protected facilities on its own, without U.S. assistance.


Israel sees an Iranian nuclear bomb as a near existential/existential threat.


IDF chief of staff Aviv Kohavi said earlier this year that the military “continues to prepare vigorously for an attack on Iran and must prepare for every development and every scenario.”


Although US President Joe Biden indicated on taking office that a return to the nuclear deal was a priority and the sides at one point seemed to be on the cusp of agreement, negotiations have stalled due to new Iranian demands. US officials have recently sent signals that suggest that a deal is unlikely in the near future.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.