The Iran nuclear deal poses not only a military threat, but also a severe economic challenge that could harm foreign investments in Israel, deter tourism and cause many young Israelis to leave the country.
That was the gloomy assessment offered by Interior Minister Silvan Shalom in a briefing to foreign reporters this week.
“Imagine what will happen if Israel is faced with a genuine nuclear threat. Would any of you agree to live in Israel under such a threat? We don’t want to be like Japan and South Korea, both of which said North Korea would never have a nuclear bomb and now live in fear of what will happen. This can cause Israelis to leave the country and damage tourism, because no one will want to live in a country facing existential threat.”
Shalom, who also serves as vice prime minister, noted that while most other countries are concerned with quality of life, Israel must focus on staying alive.
Estimating that the US-brokered deal that will lift sanctions on Iran will provide the Islamic Republic with an additional 500–750 billion dollars over the next 10 years. “The international community preferred the short term over the long term, the present over the future,” he insisted.
Asked why Israel was not negotiating an increase in American military assistance as part of the deal, Shalom responded:
“Everyone asks about the level of American military aid Israel will receive following the agreement with Iran. I ask, if the deal is so good and protects the interests of Israel, why would we even need to discuss an increase in military aid?”