Why Israel Wants a Wider War

Neutralizing the Iranian nuclear program is the main objective

Mookie Spitz
3 min readJan 4, 2024

The recent assassination of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut should come as no surprise — except for its timing. The director of the Mossad has declared Israel’s commitment to killing Hamas’ leaders, this operation presumably the first of many. Meanwhile, several indicators suggest Israel is poking the Hezbollah bear with other goals in mind.

For decades, Netanyahu has been obsessed with delaying and ideally destroying the Iranian nuclear program. He reiterated the “global concern” while visiting the UN only two weeks before the October 7th attack, stating that Israel will do what it takes to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Now that war in Gaza rages, he has his best opportunity yet.

By striking Israel with unprecedented expansiveness and savagery, Hamas hoped to draw the IDF into equally unprecedented conflict. Taking the bait, Israel has done their bidding, so far killing more than 22,000 Palestinians, and leveling 70% of Gaza. The result has short-circuited the Israel-Saudi security deal, and ignited anti-Israel/anti-US/antisemitic fervor worldwide.

The only glitch in Hamas’ successful planning has been Hezbollah, who have not come to their aid by declaring war. Hundreds of skirmishes have been launched instead, forcing thousands of northern Israelis from their homes. Yet Iran has good reasons to avoid more escalation, including not wasting their force deterrent in Lebanon, and pressure from China.

Paradoxically, the other main player in this conflict who might want Hezbollah to formally enter the fray is Israel. Consider the wider theatre of conflict, and America’s direct involvement. Biden has moved two carrier groups into the region, and the US has sink sunk three Houthi boats in the Red Sea, downed drones, and retaliated against Hezbollah attacks in Iraq.

With his sights long set on neutralizing Iran’s nuclear program, now is the optimal time for Bibi’s dangerous wish to be granted. Should these Israel-Hezbollah-US skirmishes escalate, all-out war is possible and becoming ever more likely — helped along by perfectly timed and intensely provocative assassinations, alongside mass bombings on Iranian soil.

Leaders and military strategists understand that war is hell — and the best and often only opportunity for nation states to accomplish radical objectives otherwise impossible during peace time. War with Iran’s Hezbollah proxy will certainly trigger war with Iran, whether or not Iran wants to go head-to-toe against both Israel and the United States.

Although a multifront, multicountry conflict will prove devastating to Israel, too, Netanyahu and his ultra-right government might believe it’s now or never to neutralize Iran as a nuclear threat, and reshape the entire Middle East in the process. Their goal is hardly secret, even if the depth of their intent and the mechanisms of its implementation remain uncertain.

Given Hezbollah’s strength, such a gamble would be risky indeed. With more than a hundred thousand rockets poised on the Lebanese border — many precision guided — Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Rishon could be hammered in hours, killing tens of thousands of Israelis. If existentially threatened, the IDF could even resort to a tactical nuclear response, genie out of the bottle.

Such a nightmare could be seen by the current Israel Right Wingers as a relatively small price to pay for once and for all reshuffling the power dynamic throughout the region. Netanyahu met with his cabinet this July to discuss a unilateral strike, feasible only through a pre-emptive nuclear attack. You can bet Bibi and his cronies are war gaming these scenarios.

Further motivating Netanyahu’s war lust is his dire legal situation, a looming prosecution and perhaps even jail time indefinitely postponed as long as the war rages. Although his poll numbers are worse than ever, the fragmented and polarized Israeli society Bibi is largely responsible for could conceivably forgive and forget after months of continuous conflict.

Even die hard conspiracy skeptics are forced to question Netanyahu’s blunders, and those of the IDF. Not only did Israeli intelligence know about the October 7th plan in advance, but Bibi authorized Qatar’s funding of Hamas as a hedge against the Palestinian Authority. Bibi’s “incompetence” led to the Hamas War. Maybe his ultimate goal is an Iranian one, too.



Mookie Spitz

Author and communications strategist. His latest book SUPER SANTA is available on Amazon, with a sci fi adventure set for Valentine's Day 2024.