Mossad chief Tamir Pardo agrees with Israeli President Shimon Peres that Iran is not the greatest threat Israel had ever faced, reportedly telling a meeting of ambassadors that even if the country manufactures nuclear weapons, it wouldn’t necessarily be a threat to Israel’s existence.
Pardo addressed about 100 Israeli ambassadors Tuesday evening. Three officials present at the briefing told Haaretz that the intelligence chief was confident in Israel’s ability to survive should its efforts to foil nuclear development in Iran fail.
"What is the significance of the term existential threat?" the ambassadors quoted Pardo as asking. "Does Iran pose a threat to Israel? Absolutely. But if one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an existential threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop and go home. That's not the situation. The term existential threat is used too freely."
Pardo would not comment on the possibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran. "But what was clearly implied by his remarks is that he doesn't think a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to Israel," one of the envoys explained.
Pardo’s predecessor Meir Dagan largely agrees with his replacement. He has vocally criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for pushing an Israeli attack on Iran. Dagan believes Israel should only use force "when the knife is at its throat and begins to cut into the flesh."