Bernard Gwertzman of the Council on Foreign Relations holds on a wide-ranging conversation with Elliott Abrams about the state of affairs in Israel, including the possibility of new elections, unease over Syria and whether a strike on Iran is imminent.
The Israelis would like to postpone having to make a decision as long as possible, on the off chance that the diplomatic track reinforced by sanctions will work, or on the off chance that the United States would at some point strike the Iranian nuclear program. They know the United States has far more power that it can bring to bear than they do. Also they’re going to suffer from any Iranian counter-attack, particularly if they lead the strike instead of the United States.
Israel’s new Peace Index has some interesting findings to offer:
The fierce debate over drafting the Haredim has drawn widespread public attention lately. It seems, though, that there is considerable agreement among the public about the preferred solution, whether it is realistic or not from a practical, political standpoint. The majority of the Jewish public (58%) supports exempting a limited number of yeshiva students who are “great Torah scholars” from military service, but opposes deferring the service of all the others and favors their enlistment at age 18. Only a small minority (18%) would leave the present situation as it is. A similar minority (19%) supports the Plesner Committee’s recommendation that a few young “great Torah scholars” should continue their yeshiva study, while all other Haredi men should be drafted into the IDF at age 22 or 23.
Times of Israel: On a bloody anniversary, Israel points the finger of blame at Iran
Jerusalem Post: ‘Bulgaria attack work of suicide bomber with fake US ID’
New York Times: Washington Begins to Plan for Collapse of Syrian Government
Washington Post: Stop waffling on Syria
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