Defense Minster Ehud Barak said on Thursday that while Iran\’s nuclear program is a challenge shared both by Israel and the United States, the two differ in their stances on how to deal with the issue.
"The challenge is shared but the clocks tick differently," Barak said during an early Rosh Hashanah celebration held by his Independence Party in Tel Aviv.
"Israel is maintaining its right to make sovereign decisions, and the US respects that," he added.
Barak, who met earlier with Admiral James Winnefeld, the vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the two discussed the Iranian issue.
"We cannot ignore the Americans\’ impressive readiness for dealing with the Iranian challenge," the defense minister said. He noted that the US is deploying forces in the Persian Gulf, a measure of "utmost importance."
However, he stressed that the "government is the only one to decide how to act."
While Jerusalem has been urging the international community to make the nuclear threat its topmost priority and pressing the US to take action, Washington has been pushing back with talk of diplomacy and postulation that there is still time before Tehran makes the decision to devise an atomic bomb. Furthermore, the Obama administration is reluctant to implicate the US in a military conflict ahead of the presidential elections in November.
Minister Shalom Simhon, a member of Independence, hinted during the event that an Israeli strike is not imminent.
"I wish for another year without wars," he said.
"The man sitting before us is a levelheaded man, and we\’ve seen a government before us that waged two wars," he added, referring to Barak.
Barak also addressed the violence that has been directed against Arab Israelis recently, saying that "the lynches threaten Israel\’s existence. The threat of Jewish terrorism is growing."