Daily Video

March 6, 2012

U.S.- Israeli Relationship Tenses Over Iran Policy

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met at the White House this week to discuss a very sensitive issue – whether Israel should bomb nuclear sites in Iran. Israelis have been talking of war with Iran ever since it was made clear that Iranians would not stop experiments that could lead them to develop a nuclear weapon.

The relationship between the U.S. and Israel, while very close, has often been tense because of Israel’s aggressive stance toward protecting its security.

Although U.S. officials agree a nuclear-armed Iran would be a major threat, many believe things haven’t progressed far enough to talk of war. The Iranians insist their program is for peaceful uses only. American officials have long dismissed that claim. But, in January, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said U.S. officials do not believe Iran has yet decided to build a bomb.


“The United States will always have Israel’s back when it comes to Israel’s security.” – U.S. President Barack Obama

“It is profoundly in the United States’ interest as well to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We do not want to see a nuclear arms race in one of the most volatile regions in the world.” – U.S. President Barack Obama

“Israel must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself, against any threat; and that when it comes to Israel’s security, Israel has the right — the sovereign right to make its own decisions.” – Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu

Warm Up Questions

1. Where is Israel? What do you know about it?

2. Why do you think diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Israel are so close?

3. Where is Iran? What do you know about the relationship between Iran and Israel?

Discussion Questions

1. Why would Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon be dangerous for Israel and the U.S.?

2. Do you think an airstrike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is a good idea? Why or why not?

3. Why would it be difficult for the Obama administration to take a different stance than Israel on a war with Iran? Why is this issue so complicated?

Additional Resources


President Obama Angers Israel With Call for 1967 Borders

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