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Breaking News 21:32 200 protest national unity government in Jerusalem
JPost.comDiplomacy and Politics
Analysis: A new balance at the cabinet on Iran By YAAKOV KATZ05/08/2012 18:53By inserting Shaul Mofaz and Kadima into the government, Netanyahu may be trying to tighten ranks ahead of a possible war. Photo: Emil Salman / Pool / Haaretz
On June 4, 1967, then-prime minister Levi Eshkol formed a national unity government and appointed Moshe Dayan minister of defense. A day later, the Six Day War broke out.
The threat that Israel faces today from Iran is not as imminent as the one Eshkol was concerned with 45 years ago. On the other hand though, by inserting Shaul Mofaz and Kadima into the government, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may be trying to tighten ranks ahead of a possible war that might be looming on the horizon, a war against Iran.
Mofaz however is not someone who is expected to immediately fall in line behind Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak when it comes to Iran.
A former defense minister and chief of staff, he has a record that nearly parallels Barak’s and could try and take a stand against him in the government. He is intimately familiar with the Iranian issue – not just because of his birth in Tehran – but also from his more recent role as chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and head of the Strategic Dialogue with the United States up until 2009.
According to media reports over the past year, Mofaz has been opposed to an Israeli attack against Iran and will find a partner in his successor as chief of staff Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon who is also opposed to unilateral Israeli action.
Both believe that a military option should be a last resort and Israel should instead try and get the United States to stop the Iranians.
If Netanyahu plans on bringing such an option to a security cabinet vote in the near future and possibly as early as this summer, he likely gave thought to the way Mofaz would vote and the potential outcome.
Judging by the decision to bring Kadima into the government, Netanyahu either is not planning on bringing a possible strike to a vote or he believes that he has a majority in the cabinet without Mofaz. Another possibility is that Netanyahu believes that once Mofaz joins the government and is re-exposed to the latest classified material on Iran, the Kadima leader will change his mind.