Jimmy Carter says Iran is not a threat to Israel. Whew! What a relief!
In all seriousness, there is a growing argument that Iran would not use nuclear weapons on Israel if it obtained them, because it would not want to commit national suicide. The problem is that a lot of prominent Iranian leaders have publicly embraced the idea of martyrdom, and when you’re dealing with people that glorify the concept of death as long as they’re killing infidels, you cannot assume you’re dealing with rational actors who would be interested in self- preservation.
This doesn’t even take into account Ahmadinejad’s threats to “wipe Israel off the map.”
Is all of this just bluster? Maybe. But if you’re Israel, I think it would be dangerous to think like Carter and err on the side of assuming that Iranians will behave rationally. One nuclear attack could effectively destroy Israel, so the risk of allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons should be viewed as unacceptable. This does not even take into account the possibility that Iran, consistently the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, would pass nuclear material to a terrorist group such as Israel’s direct enemies Hamas and Hezbollah, which are provided weapons and financing from Iran. Even if Iranians do neither of those things, the strategic leverage they would gain from having nuclear weapons by itself is enough reason for Israel to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, assuming diplomacy fails and the U.S. does not act first.