Israel's Iran Deal Enthusiasts

Politics, Pragmatism, and Netanyahu's Short-Term Victory

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon sit in front of a display of M302 rockets, found aboard the Klos C ship, at a navy base in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, March 10, 2014. Amir Cohen / Reuters

It was with some relish that, on August 4, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted in a Web-based address to the American Jewish community that “Isaac Herzog, the leader of the Labour opposition has said that there is no daylight between us when it comes to the deal with Iran…this is not a partisan issue in Israel.” In a speech otherwise replete with controversial claims, Netanyahu could not, on this point, be faulted. Given the rambunctious nature of the Israeli political scene, a consensus like this seems unusual.

The Israeli debate on the Iran deal, or more frequently the lack thereof, reveals much about the state of Israeli politics, Israeli strategies toward a rapidly changing region, and even of the shifting sands of the U.S.-Israel relationship. What it tells us very little about, however, are the virtues or deficiencies of the deal itself.

Israeli politicians and pundits have

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