top of page



The shadow war between Israel and Iran has been raging for more than three decades, ever since the Iranian revolution of 1979 ushered in a fundamentalist regime whose sworn enemies have consistently included, first and foremost, Israel and the United States. Israel, especially, has borne the brunt of attacks from Iran’s two most powerful proxies—Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran’s nuclear ambitions raise the stakes immeasurably. Israel vs. Iran evaluates the threat to Israel’s security posed by a nuclear Iran, including competing perceptions of the threat, and analyzes Israel’s military and diplomatic options.

Drawing on in-depth research and invaluable access to the Israeli defense establishment, including interviews with key decision makers, Yaakov Katz and Yoaz Hendel describe behind-the-scenes Israeli strategic military deliberations and intelligence analysis since the Second Lebanon War of 2006. The authors focus on pivotal military events in this shadow war with Iran, including the Syrian reactor bombing and Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, as well as assassinations of key Hezbollah operatives, Iranian nuclear scientists, and Syrian officials.

Assassinations, computer viruses, and Western sanctions might not be enough to stop Iran, the authors argue. They outline the choice Israel faces: launch a military strike, which could lead to an all-out regional war, or tacitly accept a nuclear Iran, which would lead to a new balance of power in the Middle East. In 2012 Israel appears closer than ever to making a decision.

 "In their remarkable and fascinating description of the ‘shadow war,’ Katz and Hendel enable their readers to better understand the larger battle against Iran, its nuclear program, and its proxies since the Second Lebanon War." - Matan Vilnai, Israel’s home front defense minister

"Israel vs. Iran is fundamental reading for anyone looking to understand why Iran poses a potential existential threat to Israel and what can be done to stop its pursuit of a nuclear weapon." - David Ivry, former IDF deputy chief of staff, former ambassador to Washington, and IAF commander during the 1981 Osirak reactor bombing

"The greatest threat faced by Israel—and the world—today is a nuclear-armed Iran. Yaakov Katz and Yoaz Hendel assess the options available to Israel, which range from worse to worst. None is good. All must be considered, as Katz and Hendel brilliantly do in a readable and compelling way. This is an invaluable book about an important issue." - Alan Dershowitz, author of Trials of Zion and The Case for Peace

bottom of page