Writing for Bloomberg View, Daniel Gordis explains coherently the concern of Israelis over the Iran nuclear deal. They feel beseiged on all fronts, it seems.
Our ability to defend ourselves, our knowledge that we are thus different from the Jews who died in those forests — while the world looked on and the U.S. sealed its shores — has been a source of pride to this small country. “Never again” is a ubiquitous phrase.
It is in that context that one needs to understand Israelis’ widespread sadness at the nuclear weapons agreement with Iran that the P5+1 group reached this week. The news reached us on the mountaintop, again on our iPhones. It was no surprise, of course, but the finality was still sobering. The overwhelming sense was one of alone-ness. Few Israelis believe President Barack Obama’s protestations that he has Israel’s back. He wanted a deal and a legacy, Israelis sense, and Israel was the price.
“Iran is now on the map, while Israel no longer is,” read one headline. “Israel has to decide whether to become part of the West with its preference for creative diplomacy,” the Channel 2 article continued, “or to make do in our difficult neighborhood and to announce that we will defend ourselves, even if we remain alone.”
The artillery we could hear as I read the article was a reminder that this is, indeed, a rough neighborhood.
“Even if we remain alone” was the prevailing sentiment. Avi Issacharoff, a moderate Israeli columnist, said that with the agreement, “Obama awarded Iran hegemony in the Middle East,” and suggested that July 14, 2015, may “prove to be one of the darkest days in the region’s history, especially for moderate Arab Sunni states and Israel.” Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s defense minister, called the deal a “massive betrayal.”