November 11, 2011
Will Israel attack Iran?
Rumors taking on a life of their own
Reports that Israel is gearing up to attack Iran's nuclear facilities have sent the Israeli public - and government insiders - into what some experts say is an unprecedented panic.
Rumors that the Jewish state is on the cusp of bombing Iran are nothing new. Israeli officials routinely use the threat of an air strike as a means to rally international support for tougher sanctions on Iran.
But this time around, persistent reports of an imminent attack - combined with a well-timed military exercise last week - have split the Israeli public, igniting a fierce debate about whether Israel is prepared to handle a full-scale war with Iran.
"What's different is that this has taken on a life of its own in the Israeli public," said James Colbert, policy director at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a neoconservative think tank. "We have a big whip cracking and at the end of that whip is the Israeli public."