When in June 1981 the Israel Air Force bombed the nuclear reactor under construction in Iraq, opinions about the operation were divided. This writer thought that Menachem Begin, the prime minister and defense minister at the time, was at his best. Others considered it a mistake because Iraq would neither forgive nor forget, and at the first opportunity would bomb Israel. This “opportunity” really did present itself 10 years later, when the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait led to Operation Desert Storm, led by the United States and its allies. Iraq launched 39 Scud missiles at Israel.
When then-Defense Minister Moshe Arens cleared the air force to prepare for an attack on Iraq, Shas leader Aryeh Deri traveled on Shabbat to convince him that this intervention would be disastrous for us. With all due respect to Shas, it was Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir who canceled the operation, when the U.S. administration warned him that Israeli intervention was liable to make Syria and Egypt bolt from the coalition against Iraq.