Israeli policy makers across the political spectrum agree that Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons would be a major strategic setback for Israel. However, the question of how Israel should approach the Iranian nuclear programme sharply divides Israel’s policy elite. Should Israel be prepared to take unilateral military action? Was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu right to draw a public ‘red line’ at the UN? Should Israel trust the Obama administration will keep to its pledge not to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons?

The differences of opinion cut across normal ideological divides. Yossi Beilin and Efraim Sneh are both veterans of the Israel left, but with sharply contrasting views on how to deal with Iran.

Dr. Ephraim Sneh is a former cabinet minister, IDF brigadier general and doctor. As a Labour Knesset Member he served as Israel’s deputy minister of defence in the governments of Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert and as minister of transportation in the national unity government of Ariel Sharon. He is currently the Chairman of S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue in Netanya Academic College.

Dr. Yossi Beilin initiated the Oslo peace process and the informal Geneva Peace Accord, and serves now as the Chairman of the Geneva Initiative. A member of Knesset between 1988 and 2008, Dr. Beilin has held various ministerial positions, including: Deputy Foreign Minister, Deputy Finance Minister, Minister of Economy and Planning, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister for Religious Affairs, and Minister of Justice.

They were interviewed by Fathom’s deputy editor Dr. Toby Greene.