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If Israel intends to attack Iran, it must carry out the following diplomatic operations during the year preceding such an offensive: position itself anew in the international arena as an enlightened, peace-seeking democracy; tighten its alliances with the United States and the West; forge partnerships of interests with China, Russia and India; make a massive effort to salvage Israel's deteriorating relationship with Turkey; warm up the cool relations with Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates; work to reach a peace agreement with Syria and embark on a new direction with the Palestinians; quiet down the immediate surroundings as much as it can; and form as broad a coalition as possible for the moment of truth.

If Israel is going to attack Iran, it must carry out the following steps on the domestic level within the year preceding the offensive: set up a national emergency government and a national emergency headquarters to ensure that policy will be carefully considered and calibrated, and precisely executed; verify that the decision-making mechanisms at the government offices in Jerusalem and the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv are exemplary; prepare the home front for a blitz of missiles and rockets; harden Israeli society to face a test the likes of which it has not endured since 1948; grow; surpass ourselves; mobilize everything we have at our disposal to stand together and face the challenge of our lives.

If Israel does not attack Iran, Iran will most likely go nuclear. In the year leading up to that, Israel must nevertheless take the following diplomatic measures: reposition itself in the international arena as an enlightened, peace-seeking democracy; fortify its alliance with the United States and Europe; forge interest-based partnerships with China, Russia and India; make a supreme effort to salvage its deteriorating relations with Turkey; thaw chilly ties with Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates; strive for a peace accord with Syria and a different state of affairs vis-a-vis the Palestinians; pacify the immediate surroundings to the greatest extent possible; and create a wall-to-wall coalition as we approach the dramatic end to one era and the dawn of another.

If Israel does not attack Iran, Iran will very likely go nuclear. In the year before that happens, Israel must nevertheless take the following domestic measures: set up a national emergency government and a national emergency headquarters to ensure its new nuclear policy will be carefully considered and calibrated, and precisely executed; verify that the decision-making mechanisms at the government offices in Jerusalem and the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv are exemplary; prepare the home front for life under nuclear threat; harden Israeli society to face a test the likes of which it has never known; grow; surpass ourselves; mobilize everything we have at our disposal in order to stand together and face the challenge of our lives.

Whether Israel attacks or does not attack, Iran will be on our doorstep - in 2012 or 2013, perhaps even in 2011. Yet thus far Israel has not begun undertaking the required preparations. It is perceiving the Iranian threat in a narrow, mechanical way. The prime minister understands Iran better than any other Israeli, but he refuses to understand that Iran is also the United States, Europe, China, Russia, India, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, the U.A.E., Syria, and Palestine. The prime minister does not grasp that Iran is also the Israeli government and society. Iran is the diplomatic positioning of Israel and Iran is the civil fraternity inside of Israel. Iran is not some pinpoint strategic matter; it is a profound and multifaceted challenge. Iran requires both external changes and internal reforms.

Preparations for an encounter with Iran are being conducted in a black box of secrecy. Whatever the Mossad is doing or not doing is invisible to us. So is what the air force is preparing or not preparing, as well as the yeoman's work being done by our technological wizards. So are the discussions, the arguments, the agonizing. Enormous achievements are invisible too.

Even if whatever is going on inside the black boxes is very impressive, what is going on outside of them is very worrying. The visible reality is that Israel is approaching a fateful junction in a bad state - on diplomatic, governmental and psychological levels. This is the state of a country that sees what it is facing, but does not face up to what it sees.