Israel's apparent goal is to prepare for conventional, preemptive strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, while also boosting nuclear deterrence, in the event that preemptive strikes fail or become politically unpalatable, and Tehran eventually develops working nuclear weapons.
Israeli preparations began in earnest in the wake of the disastrous invasion of Lebanon in July 2006. More than 100 Israeli soldiers died in fierce fighting with Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia. "A paramilitary organization withstood the strongest army in the Middle East for weeks," concluded Israel's post-war Winograd Commission. "These results have far-reaching consequences for us and our enemies." Some experts fear a nuclear-armed Iran would be even more aggressive in its support for extremist groups.
In August 2006, Jerusalem placed a $1.3 billion order to a German shipyard for the two extra submarines. The first should enter service in 2012. At more than $600 million apiece, the submarines are the most expensive single pieces of military equipment Israel has ever purchased. Some observers have questioned the value of buying more submarines, when the Israeli surface fleet has had to scale back plans to buy new surface warships, on cost grounds. But the Israeli navy considers the submarines worth the price. A senior Israeli naval officer told World Politics Review that submarines "define" a navy.>>>
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