The former Mossad chief Meir Dagan's decision to speak out forcefully and publicly against the idea of striking Iran's nuclear facilities from the air was prompted by his fear that the defense minister, Ehud Barak, and to a lesser extent, the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, are still considering taking precipitous action against Iran, three Israeli sources told me over the weekend. Dagan, as you can read here, called the notion of an Israeli preemptive strike "foolish," saying that it would accrue no benefits to Israel. This brought him some pushback, especially from Barak. According to The Jerusalem Post, Barak said "that all of the country's security and defense organizations - the IDF, Mossad and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) - were tasked with building up capabilities and submitting recommendations to political leaders, who are charged with making the final decision. 'In the end, these are decisions that belong to the political echelon,' he said."
As I reported in an Atlantic cover story last year, it would ultimately be Netanyahu's decision to order a strike, but it would be somewhat difficult for Netanyahu to order an attack without the acquiescence of what is known in Jerusalem as The Seven, the members of the inner cabinet. And it would near-impossible for him to order a strike without the approval of Barak. For a while, I had been under the impression that Netanyahu was the key figure keeping alive the idea of a strike against Iran, but it seems as if Barak is even more gung-ho about the possibility of using the military option.