It’s hardly a secret that the Obama White House and the Netanyahu government don’t always see eye to eye. Nor is it a news break to note that some, perhaps even many, Americans disagree with Israeli policy on a range of issues, many of them, of course, related to ongoing tensions with the Palestinians. There have been times, especially in recent years, when the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem has threatened to become dysfunctional.
There are, however, occasional and welcome moments of clarity, even in times of turmoil, when Americans and Israelis alike recall that they bound together inescapably, and that enemies of one are invariably the enemies of the other. Such moments bring both capitals together, regardless of the government of the day, and remind fair-minded people in both nations that our strategic interests overlap far more often than they diverge.
The dangerously unstable leaders of Iran rarely achieve anything that might be described as positive. But their attempts to build nuclear weapons have provided the U.S. and Israel with one of those moments when both nations realize the imperative of working together.
A recent article in The New York Times showed just how important, and effective, the American-Israeli partnership can be. The Times’ piece described how Americans and Israelis successfully developed a computer worm that disabled a significant portion of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. While this important victory has not destroyed Iran’s nuclear capabilities, it certainly qualifies as a setback.
Officials in the U.S. and Israel have had nothing to say about the worm, but the Times piece noted that experts from both countries have been working together in the Negev desert for two years in an effort to disable Iran’s nuclear program from afar. While both nations–and the rest of the civilized world–still have to figure out how to thwart Iran for good, the Negev project has bought needed time. Israeli experts figure that Iran is now at least four years away from building a nuclear weapon.
The U.S. and Israel have made it clear that the madmen who run Iran should not and will not have access to nuclear weapons. Officials in Washington and Jerusalem may grumble and gripe about each other, but on this vital issue, they speak with one voice. The world should be grateful that they do.