Israeli minister of intelligence and atomic energy Dan Meridor, during a press conference in a Jerusalem hotel, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012. Despite its confident saber-rattling, there are growing concerns in Israel that the country may be catastrophically vulnerable to counterstrike if it attacks Iran’s nuclear program. “Whereas in the past there was a battlefield where tanks fought tanks, planes fought planes, there was a certain push not to see the homefront affected. Now the war is mainly in the homefront,” Meridor told The AP Monday. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
JERUSALEM (AP) — Despite its confident saber-rattling, Israel’s concern is growing that the country is vulnerable to a devastating counterstrike if it attacks Iran’s nuclear program.
An announcement this week that a mobile rocket-defense system will soon be built just outside Tel Aviv, where Israel’s sprawling military headquarters sits smack in the middle of office towers, museums, night spots and hotels, caused some jitters. Israeli officials cite intelligence reports that Tel Aviv would be a main target of any attack.
Increasingly, the debate in Israel is turning to whether a strike can do enough damage to the Iranian program to be worth the risks. Experts believe that any attack would at best set back, but not cripple, the Iranians.
Skepticism about Israel’s ability to defend itself runs deep here. Israelis still remember Iraqi Scuds landing in the center of the country 20 years ago. In 2006, the Lebanese Hezbollah militia seemed able to rain rockets at will during a monthlong conflict with the Jewish state. A scathing government report issued months ago suggested the homefront is still woefully unprepared.
In a questionably timed move, the Cabinet minister in charge of civil defense in recent days resigned to become the ambassador to faraway China.
Vice Prime Minister Dan Meridor, who also serves as minister of intelligence and atomic energy, indicated Saturday that Israel was facing a new type of peril.
“Whereas in the past, there was a battlefield where tanks fought tanks, planes fought planes, there was a certain push not to see the homefront affected. Now the war is mainly in the homefront,” said the normally tight-lipped Meridor.
“The whole of Israel (is vulnerable Login to read more