Analysis: Are Israelis Tough Enough For A Long War With Iran? [View all]
By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM | Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:45am EDT
(Reuters) - For Israel to carry out a long-threatened strike on Iranian nuclear sites, it would have to overcome dissent within its governing coalition reflecting public fear of igniting an unprecedented missile war.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that scenario would be "dwarfed" by the prospect of an Iranian bomb, which he describes as tantamount to a second Holocaust - language that seems to herald a Jewish call to arms.
But the popular, conservative leader has not proven very persuasive. While surveys show a growing minority - now 32-35 percent - of Israelis favor taking Iran on alone, more are opposed. Around a quarter are undecided.
Some commentators ask whether a Jewish state shaped through decades of war has become more fearful of the consequences in the face of Iran, a formidable and distant foe capable, along with Islamist guerrilla allies in Lebanon and Gaza, of raining down thousands of missiles and rockets in retaliation.