Israeli officials have often tried to browbeat the US into launching the war with Iran by forwarding the notion that Iran would hit US targets immediately thereafter anyhow if Israel started it. Israel’s own internal assessments suggest that may not be the case.
Rather, Israeli defense officials are predicting that Iran would retaliate against an Israeli attack exclusively by targeting Israel, and would seek to avoid bringing the US or anyone else into the war if at all possible. Outgoing Israeli Minister Matan Vilnai is predicting a 30 day war with as many as 500 Israeli deaths far afield of Silvan Shalom’s comments earlier this week, which claimed Iran might not retaliate at all
This makes sense to anyone following Iran’s defense strategy, which has focused almost entirely on developing missiles with a range to hit Israel. Despite US efforts to spin Iran’s missiles as a threat to Europe, virtually their whole arsenal is incapable of reaching the majority of Europe, and stops at just being able to hit Israel.
The US policy of regional escalation has certainly made it an easy-to-hit target for Iran, however, with big slow-moving ships parked within speedboat distance of the Iranian coast for ease of attack. Those warships may be virtual hostages in the case of a war, but only if the US is the one that fires first.