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September 10, 2015 6:31 pm

Former Israeli Defense Minister on Iran Nuclear Deal: ‘There Will Be Bloodshed, But Israel Is Strong’ (INTERVIEW)

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Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens. Photo: Wikipedia.

Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens. Photo: Wikipedia.

“Israel has been, and should be, operating under the assumption that Iran is going for and will probably acquire nuclear weaponry; there’s no doubt in my mind that this is what is happening,” former Israeli defense minister Moshe Arens told The Algemeiner on Wednesday, following the Obama administration’s securing of the support it needed to prevent a veto override in Congress over the nuclear deal.

“Whether the Iranians actually use this weaponry — or when — is a different question,” said Arens, who served several years as a Knesset member, three terms as defense minister, once as foreign minister and a stint as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. “The probability is small, but not zero.”

What is certain, he said, is that the Islamic Republic’s proxies in the region, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups, have been empowered.

“We do know that the increased funds flowing to these organizations will have serious consequences and a pernicious influence across the Middle East,” he said, adding, “There will be bloodshed, but Israel is a strong country.”

As to whether the Jewish state is strong enough to withstand the souring of relations with the United States — which have deteriorated even more where the Iran deal is concerned – Arens, considered a political hard-liner, was dismissive.

Contrary to what most commentators have been reiterating for years, the state of the U.S.-Israel relationship is good. It could be that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu don’t like each other personally – who knows? But the ties between the two countries are not fully described by this personal thing. The bond between the U.S. and Israel is multifaceted and multidimensional; it is one of shared values and interests, among them business and technology.

This has not really been affected, even by the Iran deal.

Some people are surprised to hear me say this, but let’s look at the facts. When I came to the U.S. as ambassador, the Reagan administration suspended the sale and delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Israel, yet sold AWAC surveillance planes to Saudi Arabia. This was to signal displeasure over Israel’s bombing of the Iraqi reactor and extending Israeli law to the Golan Heights and Israel’s presence in Lebanon, following the war.

It was a big fight at the time. U.S.-Israel relations were extremely strained when Reagan was president, and he was considered pro-Israel.

Today, the Obama administration is selling and delivering to Israel the F-35, the most advanced military aircraft. Nor is there any sign that U.S. aid to Israel will be cut back.

Yet Arens was not surprised by the Iran deal or by Obama’s ability to block a veto override by Congress.

“It’s been pretty obvious for some time now that the administration was going to come out victorious on this one,” he said.

While on the subject of victory, Arens ridiculed the notion that the signing of the nuclear deal, and the inability of its detractors to prevent its ultimate passage, can be considered a defeat for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“A nuclear Iran is America’s problem – the world’s problem – and the majority of Americans oppose the deal for this reason,” he argued. “Most Israelis oppose the deal for this reason, as well, but to view any of this as connected to Netanyahu’s behavior is absurd,” he said.

He also called claims on the part of many pundits in Israel and abroad that the prime minister’s anti-Iran speech before Congress in March was responsible for the decline in Democratic support for Israel’s position on the nuclear deal “delusional.”

This was not the only manner in which Arens defended the Israeli prime minister, both in his regular columns in Haaretz and to The Algemeiner.

“There is no one – including myself — who could have conducted such a valiant fight, or done it as well, as Netanyahu,” he said. “Hats off to him.”

Though Arens has been politically affiliated with the Likud Party that Netanyahu heads, his praise is neither a given nor to be taken lightly. It is true that Netanyahu was Arens’s protégé in the early years of the former’s political career. Indeed, it was through the more senior statesman’s influence that Netanyahu was appointed ambassador to the United Nations in 1984. Arens was also responsible for the 1988 appointment of Netanyahu as his deputy foreign minister. During those years, Arens – today going on 90 – saw Netanyahu, 24 years his junior, as a son.

But there have been rifts, most notably when Arens challenged Netanyahu for the Likud leadership in 1999. Arens lost; Netanyahu appointed him as defense minister.

Asked what he would be doing if he held that post today, in the wake of the nuclear deal with Iran, Arens was evasive, yet confident.

“Without going into detail – which, for obvious reasons I’m not at liberty to disclose – I am confident that Defense Minister Moshe (“Bogie”) Ya’alon is doing exactly what he should be doing. I can’t think of anything I would be doing differently,” he said.

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  • Robert F.

    Moshe Arens is correct. It is absurd to believe that Netanyahu’s actions in opposing this deal caused the Obama Administration to “punish” Israel by providing weak terms in the agreement. Any deliberate weakening of the agreement would harm America as much, if not more, than it would harm Israel. That clearly did not happen, and any one who says it did is merely trying to use this bad deal to its political advantage.

    However, I do hope that Arens is wrong about the inevitability of Iran becoming a nuclear power. Military force must be used, at all costs, to prevent this from happening.

  • why has Misha Arens been boycotted in the main Israeli media? He is a token voice in HAARETZ ! Instead of HADAR he should exercise TAGAR and be the OMBUSMAN — rip their editors and columnists apart



  • Take it easy! The Iranian does not speak their own words! They have been told what to say by coward stupid people. A cultivated man will not talk before going to action! What those cowards Nazis who stand behind what Iran says is for to push Israel into action witch will be accusing Israel for starting the war. The same coward people who stand for what Iran says are the same people who did push for the Iran Iraq war for them to make money!

  • Ambassador Arens recognized the powerful benefit to Israel of the voting Evangelical community. See Wikipedia to verify that in USA there are over 14 million Evangelical voters who SUPPORT ISRAEL on all issues. This voting bloc is especially antagonistic to the present administration in it’s subterfuge toward Israel and PM Netanyahu.

    Israel can be assured that this voting bloc, as it has for the last 50+ years, will be relentless in putting pressure on any administration in the White House to stand with Israel.

    “He that keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps” Psalm 121
    “He that sits in the Heavens shall laugh (at the world leaders who oppose Israel) Psalm 2

    Shalom al Yisrael

    • Shalom-Hillel

      Thank you, Pastor. Your support and that of the Evangelical community means a lot on many levels, not just politically. Y’varechecha HaShem v’yishmerecha, May G-d bless you and watch over you.

  • Sue G.Lerner

    My daughter in law sent me this and I thank her for keeping me up to speed on reality. SGL

  • Allan Stauber

    This is the second of two letters that I just sent to The NY Times. They only allow 1500 characters per letter. In the total of 3000 or so characters, I still did not get to a lot of the huge problems!

    There are extremely “strange” aspects of the “great” Iran “peace” deal. E.g., many Cong. DEMOCRATS & others objected that it bankrolled massive add’l Iranian terror, killing/maiming/robbing/etc. of loads of people including Americans, infiltration of other govts, etc. First there is $150 BILLION (37% of GDP) in escrowed funds. Even a tiny part will create far more havoc that drastically increases what Iran is doing! Plus, analysts say even bigger amounts will begin flowing soon to Iran from other deals. To trick more Democrats or give them cover, Obama recently wrote a propaganda letter. He added that he’ll promise mountains of military & other aid for eons to countries & other entities to try to fight the add’l lunacies. And we all know lots of them never can be stopped. Of course, more of his cronies then rolled over on cue in Obama’s rigged game, putting Obama and party above country and sanity once again. Many of them even wrote things such as it is “DEEPLY FLAWED”, gave lots of reasons that made it sound as if they were opposed, etc., but then concocted MEGA-NONSENSE why “AFTER GREAT THOUGHT”, they “RELUCTANTLY” support it!

    So for many, many years (of course including long after Obama leaves office), American taxpayers will be on the hook for huge amounts of moolah to fight what the deal financed! It’s all “brilliant”, isn’t it? BTW, why didn’t Obama get our great “partners”, who are so hot for this deal, to pay this dough ad nauseam? He buried us big time again!

  • Allan Stauber

    This is one of 2 letters that I just sent to The NY Times.

    The deal is even worse than what most opponents say about it!

    Another “Great ” Victory for Obama AGAINST The American People and Experts NOT Under Obama’s Control!

    For example:

    9/8/15 Pew Research Iran Nuke Deal Poll: 21% favor, 49% OPPOSED!!

    Plus, despite what Obama claims, the deal does NOT block all of Iran’s paths to nukes, and he has ZERO answers to various problems! As one example, he touted approximately 36 former Generals & Admirals who support him, but conveniently ignores the astounding total of about 214 who then responded, and said they OPPOSE the deal, partly because the inspections in Iran are very problematic.

    Many other U.S. experts not under Obama’s huge thumb found similar and other showstoppers, and OPPOSE his insane deal!

    Among other things, there also are Iranian dissidents who report that North Koreans are showing Iran how to hide some activities. Plus many people already had stated that now Iran is very likely to build at least its first nukes in N. Korea and/or elsewhere rather QUICKLY. Then all the talk about many years is IRRELEVANT! In those countries, Obama’s Keystone Cops Inspectors are worth ZERO! Regardless of all of that, even kids know to go where the inspectors CAN’T FIND OUT what’s going on, NOT where they CAN! Iran probably would prefer to produce nukes at home, but will go where it has to. As soon as Iran has even one nuke from wherever, the whole ballgame changes drastically due to their threats, possible use, etc.

    There are many other huge lunacies that won’t fit here.

  • Theodore L. Crawford

    If I raise my eyes to the hills, from where
    will my help come? My help comes from Adonai, the Maker of
    heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip — your Guardian
    is not asleep. No, the Guardian of Isra’el never slumbers or
    sleeps. Psalm 121:1-4

  • “What fools these mortals be” was written by Shakespeare years ago. How true today. Biggest fool is OBama and his cohorts

    You can’t argue with a viscious snake. even if you house it as a pet

  • The Islamic Republic Iran are warmongers and terrormongers. They are constantly threatening the Jewish State Israel and cursing and ridiculing the USA.

    Iran cannot be trusted as an even partner for any deal. Because according to the rules of this ideology, contracts and agreements with nonbelievers may be cancelled anytime and unilaterally. Its called Takiya.

    The basis of this actions is both esoteric and stupid. Iran wishes to engage Israel in a war in order to promote the appearance of the 12th Imam.

  • Brilliantly expressed. A clear and objective view of Israel’s present relationship with the USA. IMHO, a good deal of this consistently good relations is due to Moshe Arens, our former Ambassador to the US. His honesty and objectivity was deeply appreciated and respected by the US government.

  • Max Genghis Cohen

    The recent poling of Senator Bernie Sanders ahead of Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate may be an indicator that the Democratic party is no longer the political ally of Likud. Sanders is dedicated to a far left ideology which offers no security for individual free enterprise in the U.S. or in Israel. This poling together with the filibuster to block consideration of Obama”s deal with the ayatollah signals an unhealthy shift to priorities of the far left rather than those of Kennedy democrats, for example.

  • Israel doesn’t actually need the USA’s (or any other nation’s) help, wonderful as it would be. Israel is G-d’s chosen people, the apple of his eye, & what the USA (not her individuals, but her government) is doing, fits perfectly with Scripture.

    • That’s right. Rather, the USA need Israel help in all their spoiled relations with Arab countries and with the Orient at all(as well as with African and Asian countries).

  • Mark_NYC

    Bravo to Moshe Arens, for his perspicacity, courage, and confidence. The Jewish people and Israel need more like him.

  • Bullfrog

    A great article. Netanyahu was totally correct in accepting the invite to address Congress. If he had not have accepted the invite, his detractors would have been criticising him. Either way, he could not win, but who cares, he spoke up for Israel !

  • Avi

    If you have not read Moshe Arens’s “Flags over the Warsaw Ghetto” read it. Deeply researched, takes a stand, knowledgeable. Even prescient.

  • Does Israel have the ability to conduct a military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities similar to its 1981 strike on Iraq’s Osirak reactor? The Israeli Air Force has significantly upgraded its equipment since the early 1980s, but the Iranian nuclear complex is a much harder target than was the Osirak reactor. Iran has three facilities that are critical for nuclear weapons production: a uranium conversion facility, an enrichment facility, and a heavy-water production plant and associated plutonium production reactor. This article analyzes possible interactions of Israel’s improved air force, including the addition of F-15I aircraft and U.S.-supplied conventional “bunker-buster” precision-guided munitions, with the Iranian target set and air defense systems. It concludes that Israel has the capability to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure with at least as much confidence as it had in the 1981 Osirak strike. Beyond the case of Iran, this finding has implications for the use of precision-guided weapons as a counterproliferation tool. Precision-guided weapons confer the ability to reliably attack hard and deeply buried targets with conventional, rather than nuclear, weapons. Intelligence on the location of nuclear sites is thus the primary limiting factor of military counterproliferation.

  • Courtney MacDonald

    Has anyone else read Psalm 83?