Ambassador John Bolton and Brigadier General Shafir Discuss Middle East Turmoil


Bracha Turner.

On October 29, the Israel Air Force Center Foundation hosted The Future of the Strategic Alliance: America, Israel, and a Middle East in Turmoil, a moderated conversation between Ambassador John Bolton, the former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Brigadier General Israel (Relik) Shafir, the legendary Israeli flying ace and military leader, who was a pilot on the mission to destroy Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.

More than 300 guests attended the event at Congregation Beth Jacob in Beverly Hills, which featured a wide-ranging conversation touching on issues from the likelihood of a nuclear armed Iran, to the challenges and opportunities in U.S.-Israel relations, to the rise of ISIS, and the need to foster strong leadership in Israel’s next generation.

“At this pivotal moment in the Middle East, we are proud to bring together these two great leaders for an in-depth conversation about the pressing issues facing our two countries,” said Simcha Salach, the Executive Director of the Israel Air Force Center Foundation. “These men live and breathe a commitment to national service, which is exactly what our organization seeks to foster in Israeli youth through our partnership with the Air Force.”

During the conversation, Ambassador Bolton expressed his belief that the nuclear deal with Iran would result in grave consequences.

Ambassador John Bolton

“Iran is now going to get nuclear weapons unless someone takes preventive military action. I had thought that Israel might be the country to take this on, but at this stage I don’t believe that is likely,” said Ambassador Bolton. “The inevitable consequence is that Iran will get nuclear weapons in the not too distant future with all the negative implications that this entails.”

General Shafir spoke about the danger of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and how Israel should respond, “We need to make alignments, certainly with the US, but also with the Russians as much as we can, to try and form some sort of understanding where the red line should be drawn.” The crisis, explained Shafir, is “between bad and worse.”

On a lighter note, the General touched upon his work as a mentor for Israeli youth at the Israel Air Force Center. “We need to focus on the next generation in Israel so that they can carry on the values on which our country was built,” he explained.

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