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A Delicate Decision

February 2, 2012
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The speculation about Iran is reaching fever pitch, much of it focused on whether Israel will or won't stage a military attack against Tehran's nuclear installations.

As JTA reports this week (see page 15), Israel and the United States are sending mixed signals about their intentions and their red lines.

With the international community rallied against its nuclear ambitions, Iran's back is up against the wall for the first time, taking a seeming schizophrenic approach. On the one hand, it has loosened its restrictions on international monitors, inviting inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency into the country after a considerable hiatus. On the other hand, it continues to make noises about war and terror attacks should it be hit.

Two things are certain: The international community must keep up the pressure through sanctions -- which are finally taking a toll -- as well as through covert operations that target both the scientists and the technology driving the country's uranium-enrichment facilities.

The world must also remember that Israel is not the only country that will suffer should Iran cross the line to nuclear capability. Its influence in a region leaning ever more toward Islamist rule will have even greater impact with a nuclear umbrella.

No one except Israel's inner circle of leaders knows exactly what Israel has planned -- or when or if it might strike. The highest echelon in Jerusalem has to calculate the damage that such an attack would inflict, as well as the cost of a potential retaliation and international approbation.

It would be presumptuous of any of us to try to dictate or influence such a delicate decision. We should leave that to those who have the most to lose -- our fellow Jews in Israel

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