Speaking at the Herzliya Conference Monday, former Defense Minister and Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz discussed Iran's nuclear program. While many Israelis want the country's leaders to face the Iranian threat head-on, Mofaz said that Israel “cannot stick to the doctrine of we are all alone. We have to do what is best for us. We need to have good relations with the West and United States.”
Mofaz was giving the concluding address of the session on “Facing Turbulent Global and Regional Arenas: reformulating Israel’s National Security Doctrine” at the 14th annual Herzliya Conference.
He said that the United States had negotiated with Iran for over a year, behind closed doors, on their nuclear situation, but Israel, to whom this is “perhaps one of the most important issues to do with existential threats” was not privy to these meetings.
He said that because of Israel’s attitude of wanting to “attack Iran tomorrow” and standing alone, “we missed the opportunity to be in that closed room” and to be a part of the solution to this issue.
“We need a joint political agenda with the United States," he added.
Regarding Israel’s national security doctrine, Mofaz felt that it was something that needed updating every decade.
“We need a refreshment of the mind not every year or every month but every decade," he said. Referring to the address of Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Chief of the IDF General Staff, who spoke at the conference earlier in the day, Mofaz said he felt the idea of a national multi-plan was “too big a challenge for the State of Israel, at this time … our security doctrine needs to be based on a long-term view and budgeting.”
He stressed, “When the army has a horizon of one year [thinks only a year ahead], it wastes money because it doesn’t know what is to be.” He said that it was a mistake for the army to talk of the uncertainties in order to increase its budget. “We need money to be earmarked for our capabilities … a protected flower that exists every year and every year it needs to be budgeted for.”
Mofaz also mentioned that Israel’s defense community needed to work on its deterrence capabilities. “When did Khaled Mashal ever dream of reaching the Gaza strip? … If our deterrence were so good, how did we enable him to reach the Gaza strip with such trumpets?”