Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters/File
Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. But Israel quite simply doesn't believe the Islamic Republic and fears what a nuclear weapon in the hands of a government with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the top of the heap could mean for them.
Israel is a country whose national psyche was crafted by the Holocaust and has said time and again that it will take preemptive action if it thinks the nation is threatened. Fear of Iran has been a long-running theme for the country – in the wake of 9/11 Israeli officials mused that Iran might have had a hand in the attack (it didn't) and since, they've kept up a steady stream of warnings about what a nuclear-armed Iran would mean for the Jewish state's future.
"Iran is developing nuclear weapons and poses the greatest threat to our existence since the war of independence. Iran’s terror wings surround us from the north and south," Benjamin Netanyahu said shortly after regaining the premiership last year.
The "never again" credo of Israel drives alarm inside the country's security establishment. While most Iran watchers believe that an Iran with a few nuclear weapons wouldn't launch a first strike on Israel – something sure to bring withering retaliation – the presence of Mr. Ahmadinejad at the top of the government (thought he's still subordinate to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader) has some Israelis fearing irrational behavior.
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