Iran needs Israel. Iran needs Israel desperately. If Israel did not exist, Iran would have to invent it. Israel is the spice of life to the Iranian regime, which should be indebted to it. It is because of Israel that it has survived for so long.

Its rabid anti-Israeli rhetoric allows the ayatollahs' cruel regime to distract the masses from their real problems, from economic distress and an increasingly intolerable cost of living, from political oppression and the killing of demonstrators, from the absence of freedom and the stoning of women.

Hatred has always been a unifying force, one that strengthens regimes. There is nothing like a demonic external enemy to silence internal tensions. Choosing an enemy is far more important than choosing a friend, Nietzsche wrote. Iran has succeeded at this beyond all expectation.

Israel is helping Iran. It is threatening it. The threats of an imminent attack, which are becoming increasingly blatant, are grease to the creaking wheels of the ayatollahs' regime, a last-minute lifesaver held out by the Israeli leadership. The enlightened and democratic forces in Iran, the students, academics and members of the middle class who three years ago filled Tehran's streets clamoring for freedom and fair elections, posing a threat to the regime, would rally around it in the event of an Israeli attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak serve the interests of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. By playing the role of aggressor they aid in the demonization of Israel within Iran. Now it is easier to describe Israel as a cancerous growth in the Middle East. Even the skeptics will be convinced. Even if Israel's war threats are never realized they have already helped the Iranian regime, whose wise choice of enemy is serving it faithfully.

The Iranian people deserve a different leadership, and they will get it. The Arab Spring will burst the boundaries of the Arab world, it will come to Tehran, and when that happens Iran's nuclear program will be of no more interest to us than that of India. Israel needs Iran. Israel needs Iran desperately. If Iran did not exist, Israel would have to invent it. Iran is the spice of life to the current Israeli leadership, which should be indebted to it. It is because of Iran that it is still in power.

Hatred and scaremongering have always been effective control mechanisms, especially for right-wing governments. His rabid anti-Iran rhetoric enables Netanyahu to harp on the Holocaust and to distract the masses from their real problems, from economic distress and an increasingly intolerable cost of living, from collapsing public services and massive spending on settlers and Haredim.

Iran is helping Israel. It is threatening it. These threats are grease to the creaking wheels of the Netanyahu government, which pounces on them as on hidden treasure. The clouds of war created by Barak and Netanyahu, which have polluted our atmosphere since early last winter, have succeeded in stifling the widespread social protest that had posed a clear threat to the government.

The demands for affordable housing, social justice and properly funded and functioning public services, have melted away in the face of the coming apocalypse of missiles and the bomb. The rare flowering here of civic and feminine discourse have once again yielded to belligerent and masculine discourse. And as in Iran the clergy hold the reins: Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was recently briefed by national security adviser Yaakov Amidror. It remains only to find a religious ruling to justify war.

Israel deserves a different leadership, and it will get it. It's only a matter of time. In the meantime the failed leaders of Israel and Iran engage in a complex choreography that from a distance appears to be a terrifying sword fight, but which upon closer inspection turns out to be the Dance of the Seven Veils. It is an eternal alliance between obsolescent regimes who owe each other their survival.