In the summer of 2012, Iran's nuclear program seemed to be reaching the point of no return. Long considered a life-or-death issue in Israel, the Iranian nuclear threat sparked a trenchant debate, both in Israel and abroad, after senior figures in the Israeli defense establishment openly criticized the Netanyahu government's growing determination to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Despite grave ramifications for Israel's national security, the discourse that emerged was often tainted by irrelevant considerations, personal agendas and spin.
To promote a different type of discourse, Haaretz launched a series of articles, under the heading "Countdown," in which 13 leading Israeli strategists were invited to weigh in on the issue. Though representing different perspectives, they all agreed on one thing: There are no easy answers to the Iranian question.
As the Iranian threat looks set to dominate the agenda in 2013, this collection of all 13 conversations offers a sober, nuanced and creative approach to one of the most fateful challenges Israel has yet faced.