Photo: AP Photo/Gadi Kabalo
Israel’s stance towards Iran — and whether an attack is likely — should be closely watched following news of a surprise deal in the Knesset, the Israeli house of representatives Monday night.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is joining forces with the opposition Kadima party, whose leader Shaul Mofaz, is an Iranian-born former General.
While his Iranian place of birth may or may not affect his political decisions, his understanding of Israel’s armed forces is noteworthy:
He immigrated to Israel in 1957 and was drafted into the Israel defence Forces when he was 18. He became a career soldier with the infantry’s elite Paratroopers Brigade, eventually becoming the military’s Chief of Staff in 1998. He currently heads the Knesset’s high-status foreign and defence committee.
And he is now the prime minister’s right hand man.
The AFP reports the “11th-hour deal” was negotiated just as the Knesset was scheduled to vote on a motion for early elections. The deal saved Netanyahu’s position and brings on board a key opinion leader with military experience to be “vice prime minister”.
The new alliance could heavily influence the government’s decision on whether to attack Iran for its suspected nuclear activity. Netanyahu says it’ll bring stability to political decisions.
As for what positions the two leaders currently have on Iran, the AP explains:
Netanyahu has hinted that Israel would be prepared to strike Iran’s nuclear program if it feels threatened. Mofaz, a former military chief and defence minister, has spoken out against an Israeli strike on Iran, though he has a history of reversing his position on key matters.
But they’ve announced they’re already cooperating:
Netanyahu said he and Mofaz already have had many discussions about Iran and will continue to hold “serious and responsible” talks on the matter. As a former military chief, Mofaz’s opinion could carry great weight in a decision on whether to strike.
Ultimately, it could allow bold decisions to move swiftly through the assembly — decisions such as whether to strike Iran and when.
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