Israel's Prime Minister now has the power to declare war

Israel Defence Forces/Getty Images
  • Israel just passed a law granting its prime minister and defence minister supreme power to declare war, without oversight from the Israeli cabinet.
  • The law comes as tensions are soaring between Israel and Iran.
  • Last month airstrikes killed Iranian military personnel in Syria, with many attributing the unclaimed strikes to Israel.
  • And earlier this week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Israel stole a trove of nuclear-related documents from Tehran, which may signal Israel’s readiness to engage with Iran.

Israel just passed a law granting its prime minister and defence minister the power to declare war, and it comes at a time of soaring tensions with Iran.

Earlier this week, Israel’s Knesset voted 62-42 in favour of granting ultimate authority to the prime minister to consult with only his defence minister before ordering a major military operation.

The law previously required a full cabinet vote in order to push the country into conflict.

Critics of the new law say it effectively gives free reign to the prime minister by removing oversight.

The timing of the law coincides with growing tensions in the region.

The feud between Israel and Iran spans decades and has largely been fought through proxy-wars and cyber attacks. But recent hostilities between the two could be bringing the nations to the brink of an all-out war.

In February, Israel shot down a drone it claims was launched by Iranian forces operating out of Syria. An Israeli army spokesman claimed the drone was “carrying explosives” and was launched “as an act of sabotage in Israeli territory.”

Last month, airstrikes blasted a government airfield in Syria, reportedly targeting and killing four Iranian military personnel stationed at the base. Russia and Iran were quick to blame Israel, which remained silent, though several sources claimed Israel was behind the attack.

If Israel was responsible for the attack, it could serve as the first sign of direct military confrontation between Israel and Iran. Iran has since promised retaliation.

And this week Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a dramatic presentation accusing Iran of lying about its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu revealed Israel’s spy agency Mossad snuck into Iran and stole 110,000 documents purported to be about the Iranian nuclear program.

Israel’s provocative announcement of the raid is likely part of its psychological warfare against Iran, and may signal Israel’s readiness to engage with Iran.

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