While cheering Mr. Trump’s decision, Israel could face some undesirable outcomes as a result of it.
If Britain, Germany, France and perhaps Russia and China respond by backing up the nuclear deal and giving Iran added incentives to stick with it, the United States could wind up having squandered its leverage. Israel would have gained nothing and a wedge could be driven between the United States and some of its closest European allies.
Alternatively, if Iran reacts by abandoning the agreement and restarting its nuclear program, it will be up to the United States and its allies to stop Iran — “or the nuclear deal will have been proven to have been the best deal available, and relying on Trump to be a very stupid move,” Mr. Pfeffer said.
Ehud Barak, a former prime minister who was defense minister under Mr. Netanyahu when the two pressed for an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program, said he believed Iran would be even more cautious, following Mr. Trump’s decision, “not to make a mistake which would draw them into a direct conflict with the U.S.”
“The real nightmare of the ayatollahs is to find themselves in a real clash with the U.S.,” said Mr. Barak, who was in Washington promoting a new memoir. “They play brinkmanship very artfully, but also out of careful calculation. And with this administration, they cannot really calculate.”
War is, however, a distinct possibility — and one for which the Israeli public is being prepared almost hour by hour.
Iran’s nuclear program is by no means the only or even the most urgent threat that the country poses to Israel. For months, the two adversaries have been engaged in an increasingly bloody and overt conflict in Syria, where Mr. Netanyahu says Iran is bent on establishing an offensive threat to Israel with drones, precision-guided missiles and Shiite militia members under Iranian leadership. And he is determined to prevent it.
In recent days, the Israeli news media have been filled with feverish assessments and speculation that the Iranians, with the Lebanese elections and Mr. Trump’s decision behind them, will be freed to retaliate for recent airstrikes attributed to Israel on Iran’s growing military infrastructure in Syria.