Ronen Bergman is one of Israel's leading investigative journalists. The senior security and intelligence correspondent and analyst for Israel's largest daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, and an anchor on a leading Israeli television news program, he is the author of three bestselling books published in Israel. He was awarded a PhD by Cambridge University for his dissertation about the Israeli Mossad.
Question: What is the Begin Doctrine?Ronen Bergman: The Begin Doctrine is called after Menachem Begin’s, Israeli Prime Minister, order to strike the Iraqi reactor Tammuz Osiraq back in 1981.
Basically, the Begin Doctrine says that Israel would never accept the fact that a hostile country that calls for its destruction holds the means to deliver this sort of operation. Meaning, Israel would never tolerate the existence of nuclear power in the hands of a hostile country like Syria or Iran. And you can draw your conclusion from that, that if worse comes to worst, as the very last resort, if Israeli is convinced that the international boycott doesn’t work, that Russia and China do not align with the rest of the world, their economic sanctions do not pressure Iran enough, that the United States is not going to take action and Iran is getting too close to enable, Israel would strike Iran.
And I can tell you that not long ago, a few weeks ago, in a classified discussion dealing with the Iranian issue, there’s a special forum of the Israeli decision in intelligence operatives dealing with Iran. One of them said that if worse come to worst, we must bear in mind what the Israeli first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion said repeatedly, that we did not bring the survivors of the Holocaust to Israel to suffer another Holocaust, and we would do everything, but everything, to prevent it.
Recorded: Sep 19, 2008