Israeli Cabinet Reportedly 8 To 6 in Favor of Strike on Iran
March 19, 2012 • 8:50AM

In a column published on Thursday in the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv, journalist Ben Caspit reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Miniser Ehud Barak have secured the support of the majority of Israel's security cabinet for an Israeli preemptive military attack against Iran without American approval. Of the 14 cabinet ministers, Caspit reports that 8 are in favor and 6 opposed to such an attack.

As Richard Silverstein reports: "This means that theoretically Bibi can begin an attack at any time. Of course, it could mean something different: it could mean the cabinet has approved a strike at any point in future with Bibi determining the timing. So it doesn't necessarily mean the F-16s will fly tonight or tomorrow. But it could."

Silverstein also reported that the prime minister delivered one of the most combative and explicit speeches in the history of the Iran affair. Several cabinet ministers said in private conversations that it sounded like a speech preparing for war.

"According to the most recent assessments, at this point eight ministers tend to support Netanyahu and Barak's position, while six object to it," Caspit wrote.

"It should be noted that the security cabinet has yet to hold a decisive meeting on the issue and the assessments are based on secret talks being held between the prime minister and his ministers, one at a time."

Caspit noted that Netanyahu has convened neither his security cabinet, nor the more intimate Forum of Eight — a consultative body of his closest ministers — since returning from talks about Iran with U.S. President Barack Obama.

"The longer the silence from Netanyahu and Barak's direction continues, the more concerned the opponents of an attack on Iran become," Caspit said.