First rumblings of anti-war movement in Israel
Expect to see more of this and larger demonstrations if the war drums keep beating.
About 1,000 protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night, urging the government not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. They chanted anti-war slogans, and waved posters with messages such as "Talk, Don't Bomb".
"I don't think we should attack Iran," said Dalia Kraid, a protester. "If we strike, instead of preventing a nuclear war we might start one," she added. Ifat Zvirin, another demonstrator, said: "We are afraid, like most of the people in the country who are against a war with Iran. We want all the Middle East to become a nuclear weapon-free zone, and that includes Israel."
The Tel Aviv demonstration was small even by the standards of Israel's much-diminished peace movement. However, as several protesters were quick to point out, the marchers appeared to be echoing widely-held concerns.
Recent opinion polls have shown that, despite the overwhelming concern over Iran's nuclear programme, only a minority of Israelis are in favour of an attack. According to a survey published earlier this month by Dahaf, an Israeli polling institute, only 19 per cent of Israelis support a unilateral strike on Iran. The poll found that more than a third of respondents were against a strike under any circumstances, while 42 per cent said they would back a strike only as long as it was supported by the US.
As long as Barack Obama is president, Israel will probably not take action against Iran. Those polls reflect a realism among the Israeli populace; they need Washington's diplomatic cover as well as some military assets as well, including special weapons and overflight permission from Iraq.They are not going to get that from Obama.
Israel will go it alone if there is no other option. But from their standpoint, it would be far preferable to have the US by their side than not.