Dr. Chuck Freilich, Senior Researcher at INSS (Institute for National Security Studies) and former Deputy National Security Adviser for Israel, spoke to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva about the massive Iranian attack, Israel’s retaliation, Israel’s joint forces with its allies, and whether Biden or Trump are better for Israel.

Dr. Freilich commented on the massive Iranian attack, saying, “I think we saw a truly unprecedented cooperation with the US and Britain, and reportedly Jordan and the Saudis. This isn't just a matter of cooperation. We've had that with the US for decades, but this is joint combat. The US is helping us deal with a threat that we would have grave difficulty in addressing on our own. American aircraft fighting together with us, maybe the Jordanians as well, according to some reports. This in itself is a dramatic change. It's something that we should be doing everything possible to preserve for the future and we see the US saying, ‘Okay, we're with you now on the defensive level, but do not retaliate, and we have to take that position into account.'”

Many in Israel feel and believe that it is actually dangerous not to retaliate to such an attack. Dr. Freilich agrees, saying, “I would like to respond as strongly as possible. This was an unprecedented attack on Israeli territory and, in principle, we should be responding and should be responding very strongly. The question then is always how do you balance conflicting interests. Unfortunately, national security decision-making is usually about choosing between bad options and here we have a president of the US, I think probably the best friend we've ever had, telling us, ‘I was with you on the defense. Don't push me on the offensive level. I'm also trying to help you build this defensive coalition in the region, some sort of defense alignment, so work with me on that.’"

Dr. Freilich believes that, “We have to understand that Biden is in a position now where remarkable as it may sound, his election prospects depend at least partially on how he handles the relationship with Israel today. Israel has tragically become a toxic issue for much of the American electorate and in some states, first and foremost in Michigan, the relationship with Israel, the Gaza War, could be the deciding factor in what will undoubtedly be a very, very close election. I believe that we have an interest in helping to see him re-elected, both because of how good a friend he's been and because the alternative, I think, is far worse from our perspective.”

Dr. Freilich emphasizes that Israel should be strengthening the cooperation it experienced on Saturday night because, “First of all we had a major joint success. The Iranians fired 300 weapons at us, and a couple got through, so there was a huge joint success here. It's a basis for continuing to go forward. I believe that Israel has to always do its best to align its policies with those of the US. We can't do that 100%. We can't do that all the time, because the US is a global superpower, whose interests of course do not fully align with those of a small regional state like Israel. But because we are so dependent on the US, we really have to do what we can, except on occasions where it is really, really critical to our national security to do otherwise.”

“This,” he claims, “is an occasion which I do think gets close to that, where we have to consider taking action, even contrary to a clear American position, but not quite, remember we're going to need the US for whatever ongoing events develop with Iran. We need the US if things heat up with Hezbollah, we need the US to resolve the issue in Gaza, whether it's eventually turning a ceasefire, whenever that actually happens, into a long-term ceasefire in terms of getting the hostages back, in terms of any prospects in the future at some point for a diplomatic process with the Palestinians. The US vote in the Security Council, we are so dependent on the US, I think people sometimes don't realize it and there’s also a natural tendency to want to say ‘well, we're an independent country and we do what we want and we take care of ourselves,’ and in critical moments we do have to be an independent country and take care of ourselves. But again, our dependence on the US is so overwhelming, especially in the current circumstances that I think we really have to align ourselves with the American policy here.”

Former US President Trump is saying that "if I were in the White House this all wouldn't happen." Dr. Freilich feels that “Trump in a second term may be a very different Trump. First of all, he seems to bear some personal animosity towards Mr. Netanyahu, because Netanyahu had the audacious nerve to congratulate Biden for his election, and then Trump has repeatedly said, including in the last week, that he can't possibly understand how the American Jewish community, which has always voted pro-Democratic, overwhelmingly, can continue to do so. It's not loyal to Israel and of course when he says things like that, he raises the American Jewish fear of dual loyalties."

Dr. Freilich says that “Trump hasn't said a single good thing about Israel since the war began. He hasn't called to strengthen Israeli security. He hasn't said anything about what he would do in a second term, so he did some very good things for Israel in his first term, for which he certainly deserves credit, whether it's the Golan and Jerusalem. He also made the catastrophic decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear program and here the proof is in the pudding. All you have to do is look at where Iran was in 2015 and where it is today, where it is a threshold nuclear state. In effect it's just about a nuclear state and can cross that final threshold pretty easily, at a time of his choosing. So, I believe that Biden has both been a remarkably good president for Israel and, compared to the alternatives, he is certainly a better one.”