Fortunately, Israel has a way out of this strategic limbo: by agreeing to give up its nuclear arsenal. Instead of rejecting the calls for a region free of weapons of mass destruction, Jerusalem could participate in such an initiative — joining in a similar sacrifice by all other regional actors, including Iran. The conventional wisdom is that this would be a bad bargain for Israel, giving up too much in exchange for too little. But such a bold move could set in motion a long-term process that might end the bitter stalemate over Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has been calling for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East since 1974 and perceives the Israeli arsenal as a great threat, so it will have no choice but to support the initiative. And purely from a security perspective, Israel would be safer in a WMD-free region. It would maintain its conventional superiority and its ability to deter conventional challenges — all the while eliminating the prospect of nonconventional threats, such as an Iranian nuclear bomb or Syrian chemical weapons.
Of course, Israel is not likely to actually abandon its own nuclear arsenal anytime soon, and, even if it did, it would not lose the know-how and the capability to produce nuclear arms in the future. But a change in policy that started Israel in this direction would at the very least increase the pressure on Iran to give up its own nuclear project.