An even more disconcerting development for Israel is the collapse of American policy regarding Iran. Stated more precisely, Israel is worried about President Donald Trump’s turn-about when it comes to applying pressure to Iran. This is obvious to anyone watching Trump’s behavior over the last few months, from his firing of national security adviser John Bolton, through his pleading for a meeting or even a phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, to the resignation of US Treasury Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker, who was responsible for sanctions against Iran. The terrifying predictions of senior Israeli security officials, which have been published here before, are being fulfilled at a rapid pace. Trump is losing interest in the Iranian issue and has even started to court the Iranians, in the hope that he will get the kind of “photo-op” that he can present as some kind of foreign policy achievement. By now, Israel’s defense establishment is already starting to miss President Barack Obama.
According to one scenario, presented here in an earlier article, the most disturbing question of all is what Israel will do if Iran decides to speed ahead openly with its nuclear program, while withdrawing loudly from the nuclear nonproliferation agreement. The current assessment in Israel is that Western intelligence agencies are putting together evidence that increases the chances of this horrific scenario actually occurring. If it does, Israel will find itself totally isolated on the Iranian front. Trump will be deep into his 2020 election campaign, but also the impeachment proceedings in Congress, while the Europeans will give Israel the cold shoulder, as will Russia and China. This could explain the urgent increase to the defense budget that Israel’s leaders are trying to push through.