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Israel Simulation Highlights New Thinking

Israel Simulation Highlights New Thinking

TEL AVIV — World War III almost broke out at Tel Aviv University last week, though cooler heads prevailed in the end.

Incendiary statements by Iran and the Islamic State brought the sides to the brink of war during a simulation, held at the university, which dealt with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nightmare scenario:

Iran, backed into a corner by the Islamic State, and armed and ready to use a nuclear bomb.

The simulation game was formulated by the Lab for Policy and Security Simulations (SIMLAB) in conjunction with the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop and the university’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African studies. The game opened with provocative remarks from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who proclaimed, “If ISIS will continue its advances against holy Shi’ite cities, Iran will not hesitate to use every force in its power against ISIS and the areas under its control.”

The statement prompted the Islamic State to call for its supporters in Iraq to attack the “infidels” and for its sympathizers in Jordan and Syria to “take to the streets.” The flurry of activity, which included the killing of four Jordanian pilots, prompted world powers to scramble for a solution.

The six-hour simulation, in which security experts and academics represented 15 different actors, concluded that Israel must be flexible in forming coalitions with its Arab neighbors if it wants to combat the Iranian nuclear threat.

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