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Security Officials: Elections Won't Affect Iran Policy

Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon say impending elections won't affect Israel's policy on Iran
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/2/2012, 8:19 PM

Moshe Yaalon
Moshe Yaalon
Flash 90

Senior security officials said Wednesday that early elections will have no impact on Israel’s decision on whether to strike Iranian nuclear sites.

Former IDF chiefs of staff, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon (Likud), issued statements on Wednesday that the Jewish state’s policy toward Iran will be based solely on strategic interests.

Israel – like the United States, its European allies, and Gulf Arab states – believe Iran is conducting nuclear work with military applications.

The international media made a good deal of fuss following reports earlier in the week that Israel was headed for elections, going so far as to allege the dissolution of the current government “cast additional uncertainty” on Israel’s military plans.

However, Israeli poll numbers – relatively steady for several weeks – show Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party surging far ahead of its closest competitors to 31 seats.

As such, Netanyahu is the odds on favorite to form the next coalition after elections are held. Netanyahu’s key coalition partners – most notably Yisrael Bateinu – have remained relatively stable in the polls.

While the government is being dissolved over a dispute pertaining to the Tal Law – which exempts Hareidi men from military service – Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Bateinu) has openly stated he hopes to join the next government.

Barak’s Independence party – currently polling at three seats – would also be a likely candidate for Netanyahu’s next government. As such, all of the key officials driving Israel’s policy on Iran are likely to return to government.

Barak's comments were published on his Facebook page, while Yaalon spoke to the Hebrew-language Maariv daily.