A year ago Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Tamir Pardo as the director of Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad. Pardo has spent his whole career in Mossad — an organization which in recent years has focused most of its attention on Iran. It is reasonable to assume that there is no one else inside Israel’s national security establishment who is in a better position to assess the threat Iran might pose to the Jewish state.
So, when Pardo addressed a meeting of 100 Israeli ambassadors who had returned home for their annual meeting this week, one might expect that Iran would have been the focus of his concerns, but apparently not.
For 20 minutes he spoke about the threat to Israel’s economy posed by the economic crisis in Europe. Israelis have good reason to be worried. Europe provides the market for a third of Israel’s exports.
As for Iran, Pardo covered the topic in just five minutes during which time he admonished those who use the term “existential threat” too freely.
If Iran obtains nuclear weapons, this will not mean the destruction of the State of Israel, Pardo says.
“Does Iran pose a threat to Israel? Absolutely. But if one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an existential threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop and go home. That’s not the situation,” ambassadors present quoted Pardo as saying.
The ambassadors said Pardo did not comment on the possibility of an Israeli military assault on Iran.
“But what was clearly implied by his remarks is that he doesn’t think a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to Israel,” one of the envoys said.
Did anyone in Washington hear that? Or is everyone too busy drumming up fear about “existential threats”?