First, they say, there is no great urgency. Iran has continued to enrich uranium, but Israeli intelligence estimates suggest that it would take another year—at least—for Iran to assemble its first bomb, and yet another year to fit it into a missile’s warhead.

Second, there is much that Israel can do and is doing, without using its air force and missiles. Israel’s intelligence community, led by the Mossad and the even larger military agency Aman, is enjoying an unprecedentedly strong partnership with the CIA and other Western security agencies. While diplomats led by the United States tried to negotiate with Iran in Istanbul, Baghdad, and Moscow this year, Israel and its covert partners continually pressed ahead with sabotage and other subterfuge meant to delay and divert Iran’s nuclear program…

Third, most Israeli military analysts, including those in the Israeli air force, agree that Israel’s capabilities are so limited that bombing Iran would only delay its nuclear program, not destroy it. The United States has supplied Israel with 100 GBU-28 bunker-buster bombs in the past six years. But to be much better prepared to strike many targets in Iran, the Israelis want 200 of the improved GBU-31 bombs that have a more precise guidance system. Israel’s air force says it also needs two or three KC-135 midair-refueling tanker planes.