New Israeli Consul General to the Midwest Roey Gilad offered an often challenging political overview of the Mideast Sept. 10 as he spoke to JUF's Jewish Community Relations Council.
"We are facing the most complicated political regional situation … since 1967, maybe even since 1948," he told representatives of dozens of Chicago-area Jewish organizations. The outcome of the Arab Spring is yet to be understood, but the impact of that "regional earthquake" cannot be exaggerated.
After offering brief updates on Egypt, Jordan and Syria, Gilad—who succeeded former Consul General Orli Gil in August—focused on Iran, "the real strategic challenge" for Israel.
Israel, the United States, and the European partners agree that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon. They differ, though, on where things stand currently.
It takes time for diplomatic efforts to bear fruit, he said. The problem is that Iran is not stopping, and "the sanctions are slower than the pace of the rotation of the centrifuges."
If the day will come that military action is necessary, "I hope it will not be met only by Israel," he said. The problem does not concern only Israel, so the solution should involve more than Israel. But as a sovereign state, "we are responsible for our own security." If we reach that point, "we will know to make the right decision."
Joel Schatz is the direct of News & Information for the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.