If Israel Ceased to Exist
Can Israel, as the prime minister of Iran has bluntly put it, be wiped from the map? Of course it can be. The Iranian nuclear-weapons program has only added to the ways in which this can happen. Any small country whose larger neighbors, including those formally at peace with it, would be delighted, with the concurrence of a significant part of the human race, to see it vanish must reckon on its possible mortality. It has never been anything but foolish for Israelis, American Jews, or anyone else to deny this.
If Iran has made a difference, it is that an intermittent anxiety has now become a chronic one. In the past, acute concern over Israel’s survival has arisen in times of war—1948, 1967, 1973—and abated once the military threat was over. But the Iranian threat is indeterminate. It has developed slowly and may be slow to go away, if ever it does.
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