Once upon a time, goes the tale in the Old Testament, God made a bargain with Abraham: Find ten righteous men in Sodom and Gomorrah and I’ll spare the two cities from destruction. Abraham’s failure at the mission was a boon for literature. The tale survived the centuries, inspiring and spawning primordial images, like the pillar of salt, and archetypes, like the female stuck on the past.
Today, the Jewish state has cast itself in the part of the Almighty, and its wrath threatens to consume another ancient place—Iran. And I, the poorest possible replica for Abraham, went to Israel last month hoping to find ten Jewish politicians who truly understood Iran.
My search began at the 2010 Herzliya Conference. The Who’s Who of Israel was in attendance, and the range included the usual cocktail of junior politicians and intelligence agents to the prime minister and the president. At every panel, Iran was the elephant in the middle of the debate. Most speeches directly took it on. The few that did not, alluded to it.