The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 20, 2013

The 10 Commandments of Visiting Israel


10. Thou shalt stop Iran or step aside.

Beyond forging a connection with Israel's people, the overarching policy goal of the trip — unspoken or not — relates to Iran's nuclear program. The world's decade-long dispute with the Islamic Republic is not the function of a misunderstanding or failure to engage: there is no overlap between the objectives of Iran (a bomb, or the ability to build one quickly) and the world (no bomb). A broad segment of Israelis see a nuclear-capable Iran as the greatest threat to their country, to the region and to world peace; the Wikileaks trove showed Arab leaders feel the same. Israelis would like to believe Washington's assurances that it won't shrink from military action should other options continue to fail. And yet their doubts persist — Ronald Reagan didn't keep Pakistan from acquiring nukes, nor did Bill Clinton stop North Korea. Late last year, Israel's Channel 2 revealed that, in 2010, Netanyahu and Barak had ordered the air force to prepare for an imminent attack, only to be rebuffed by senior military officers. If Obama fails to convince Israelis to trust him on Iran — if Tehran goes nuclear, or Jerusalem chooses to strike — no tablets from Sinai will help restore his legacy to the Promised Land.

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