JERUSALEM, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Israel's Mossad chief Tamir Pardo said a nuclear Iran would not necessarily mean the destruction of Israel, Israeli diplomats said.
Pardo addressed a forum of Israeli ambassadors in Jerusalem earlier in the week. He said while Israel continues its efforts to foil a nuclear Iran, if the Islamic Republic achieves nuclear capability it would not mark the end of Israel, diplomats present at the lecture told Haaretz.
"Does Iran pose a threat to Israel? Absolutely. But if one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an existential threat that would mean that we would have to close up shop and go home. That is not the situation. The term existential is used too freely," the diplomats quoted Pardo saying.
The diplomats said the intelligence agency chief did not comment on a possible Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear installations.
His comments come amid debate by Israeli public figures concerning a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, the newspaper said.
Pardo's predecessor, Meir Dagan, was quoted by Israeli media saying that military action should only be taken "when a knife is at its throat and begins to cut into the flesh," Haaretz said. Dagan also criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who he said were pushing for military action against Iran.