Ross Cypher-Burley is a former researcher to a Conservative MP and worked as a speechwriter in Washington D.C. He currently lives in Tel Aviv.
Moving to Tel Aviv in July was a stressful time for my family and I, though not particularly for the reasons that we envisioned. From the driver’s small talk in the taxi from the airport, to watching the evening news, and to my first glass of beer with bright young Israeli policymakers, there was a palpable sense of apprehension about Iran. The country was divided over whether the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent, in his view, the Ayatollahs acquiring the capacity to build a nuclear weapon. Every day newspapers were full of stories and quotes from leading Israeli politicians and generals, emphasising the IDF’s ability to carry out such a strike. As I commuted to work, I passed car parks being converted to impromptu bomb shelters. Stalls were set up in shopping centres where families could acquire gas masks. I received stark text messages on my phone informing me of the whereabouts of the nearest shelter. All against the backdrop of increasingly heated political rhetoric in the media. One evening I shared a drink with an Israeli diplomatic correspondent. I asked him the likelihood of Netanyahu going for it. “Right now... 80%,” he said. Perhaps he was trying to scare me. It worked.