The nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 represents a “landmark of western engagement in the region,” said Dr. Assaf Sharon, Co-Founder of Israeli think tank Molad. Speaking at a closed-door session hosted by the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, Sharon touched on the perceptions of the nuclear agreement in Israel, but focused squarely on the significance of its passage and the lessons that can be applied to future diplomatic efforts in the region.

Sharon also shared observations from Israel of the nuclear agreement’s passage. Firstly, in what Sharon believed to be a national failure, no open discussion about the nuclear deal occurred in Israel. “Netanahyu’s vocal opposition of the deal was the only thing you could hear,” and no other voices could be heard. Secondly, a progressive alliance across the Atlantic does not exist, at least not in the same capacity as the strategic coordination that occurs on the right. Both of these factors contributed to a narrative highly critical of the nuclear agreement with Iran, with no constructive conversation about Israel’s role in the region after the eventual passage. 

 “Whether you think the deal is good or bad, you should be open to discussion,” Sharon urged, expressing concern about the state of public debate on policy issues in Israel.

To the average Israeli, Sharon purported, daily violence is a bigger concern and threat to Israel than the existential threat of Iran. Israelis hear about “the Iran threat” but they do not “feel it” Daily violence is felt and recognized by all citizens, and demands a diplomatic resolution to neighborhood challenges drawing on lessons from the West’s diplomatic success with Iran.