But U.S. President Barack Obama, seeking re-election in November, has counseled against what he would deem premature Israeli unilateralism. He recently sent top officials to try to close ranks with the conservative Netanyahu.
Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, an old friend of Netanyahu who casts himself as a more reliable bulwark for Israeli security, also visited Jerusalem last month.
The Yedioth article said, without citing sources, that some government advisers in Israel and the United States believed a pre-November strike might “embarrass Obama and contribute to Romney’s chances of being elected.”
Yedioth said the aim of an initial Israeli attack on Iran would be to trigger an escalation that would draw in superior U.S. forces -- but described Barak as dismissive of this theory.
“He believes that America will not go to war, but will do everything in its power to stop it. It will give Israel the keys to its emergency (munitions) stores, which were set up in Israel in the past. Israel needs no more than this,” Yedioth said.
Netanyahu, apparently trying to avoid being seen as meddling in U.S. politics, has voiced gratitude for cross-partisan support of Israel in Washington, while insisting his country remains responsible for its own security.
Haaretz, an influential liberal Israeli newspaper, quoted an unnamed senior official in the Netanyahu government as saying the Jewish state -- widely assumed to have the region’s only atomic arsenal -- potentially faced a greater danger from Iran than on the eve of its 1967 war with several Arab neighbors.
That thinking seems to be gaining ground domestically.