“Israel views a lot of the current developments through the prism of the Iranian threat,” Gold added. “It would be unfortunate if Iran becomes the beneficiary of the developments across the Middle East. Iran could face a tremendous strategic loss if the Syrian regime falls and is replaced by a more Western-oriented leadership.”

Shlomo Brom of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University said Israel’s calculations were more complex than that.

“On the one hand,” he said, “Assad has maintained stability. He has kept the border with Israel quiet, and though he has harassed Israel by assisting Hezbollah and Hamas, he reacted cautiously to events such as the bombing of a Syrian nuclear facility that was attributed to Israel. For Israel, he is a known quantity. On the other hand, there is no sympathy for Assad and his links with Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, and any regime change in Syria will hurt this axis.”