Bushehr - AP - Aug. 21, 2010
The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is seen, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran. Photo by AP
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A senior Israel Defense Forces commander has said that Israel is unable to attack Iran's nuclear program in a meaningful way, Time Magazine reported on Thursday.

According to the report, which is quoting an Israeli defense official, a senior IDF commander presented the cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a gloomy assessment last fall.

“I informed the cabinet we have no ability to hit the Iranian nuclear program in a meaningful way,” the official quoted the senior commander as saying. “If I get the order I will do it, but we don’t have the ability to hit in a meaningful way.”

The defense official told Time, that according to an estimate by the Atomic Energy Commission, Israel will only be able to push back Iran's nuclear program by several months to a year, after taking into account the wide geographic dispersion of Tehran's nuclear facilities and the the limits of Israel's air force.

Earlier Thursday, former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi said that Israel must do all it can to operate under the radar against Iran, but should simultaneously prepare for a possible strike against Tehran's nuclear facilities.

"Israel must do all it can under the radar and combine that with paralyzing sanctions, but at the same time keep a reliable military option on the table with the willingness to use it if necessary," Ashkenazi said.

"When the moment comes I don't know if we won't be alone, and for this reason Israel must also rely on itself," he said.