A former Israeli prime minister added his voice Sunday to a growing chorus of Israeli officials against a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Ehud Olmert spoke to Israel’s Channel 10 TV from New York.
“There is no reason at this time not to talk about a military effort,” he said, “but definitely not to initiate an Israeli military strike.”
Israel and the West suspect Iran is aiming to obtain nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Olmert was Israel’s prime minister from 2006-2009. He was in office when a suspected nuclear site in Syria was attacked in 2007. It was assumed that Israel carried out the airstrike, but Israel never acknowledged that.
Olmert’s remarks came after Israel’s former internal security chief, Yuval Diskin, said the government is misleading the public on the level of effectiveness of a military strike.
Meir Dagan, Israel’s ex-Mossad chief, told the station he supported Diskin’s view.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been warning about Iran’s nuclear program for years and calling for decisive world action to stop it. In recent days he charged that current Western sanctions are not enough to deter the Iranians from building nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, have hinted at the possibility of an Israeli military strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities but have not made an open threat. They have said repeatedly that no options have been taken off the table.
Israel considers Iran a threat to its existence because of its nuclear and missile development programs, frequent reference to Israel’s destruction by Iranian leaders and Iran’s aid to anti-Israeli militants in Lebanon and Gaza.