Israeli Security Officials Rejected Netanyahu Order to Prepare to Attack Iran in 2010

Dagan, Ashkenazi Spurned PM's Order

Despite the 2009 Israeli election leading to the most far-right coalition government in recent memory, and despite that coalition’s leadership constantly being bellicose and threatening wars everywhere, Israel has not had a major war since the election. But stopping those wars has not been easy.

A new report from Israel’s Channel 2 reveals that two of the top security leaders in 2010, Mossad’s Meir Dagan and the military chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi openly spurned orders from Prime Minister Netanyahu to increase preparations for an imminent attack on Iran.

Dagan, who since leaving his position has very publicly criticized the push to war, reportedly told Netanyahu at the time that he was “likely to make an illegal decision to go to war,” and refused to prepare Mossad for the “P Plus” level readiness, which means attacks could begin in a matter of hours, without previous cabinet approval.

For Ashkenazi’s part, he reportedly declined the order citing concerns that the very act of raising the level that high could start the war in and of itself. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who was interviewed for the program, downplayed the seriousness of the situation and insisted Ashkenazi simply told him that the military was physically unable to carry out the order.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.