Morning Joe | February 19, 2013
>>> see the hamas rocket it's going after. watch how the missile will adjust its course to get close to the hamas rocket and blow it up.
>> do you think that people in televiv and esskel lon feel saver today than six months ago?
>> by far.
>> a clip from 60 minutes . that was a report from the iron dome , israel 's cutting edge rocket. israel 's ambassador to the u.s. with us now, am babassador michael oren , thank you for being here.
>> my pleasure.
>> let's talk about the iron dome program we have seen over the past six months. it's been very successful, hasn't it?
>> i think it's been historically successful, the first anti- ballistic missile that took down 85% of rockets that would have taken down cities and the fact they couldn't hit our cities gave us time and space and saved palestinian lines and didn't have to work out a cease-fire with then secretary of state clinton. gave us time and space. if you're cities are being hit by mission mission -- missiles, you're the prime minister, you don't have time to act. we had soldiers ready to go into gaza and didn't have to go into gaza because the iron dome took away the threat to hit civilians.
>> there could be instability in area and uncertainty in egypt and unrest in jordan. iron dome may not be relevant to those things. when israelis get up in the morning and look at upheavals, they can say things are bad and getting worse.
>> you've noticed. iron dome is a game changer, not ending. we're facing six or seven rockets in benghazi and syria has the largest arsenal in the world and looking carefully who is controlling that arsenal. the entire region is in turmoil. we have concerned and the united states allays some of concerns. at the end of the day we have to have our own security.
>> a lot has been said about your relationship with the united states but lots said about the frayed relationship between this president and the prime minister. the proposal in the process of forming a new israeli government and presumably there will be a new government in israel . do you think it's possible there could be a reset to israel -u.s. relations?
>> i don't want to give too much credence to what you read, don't want to shock you everything you read is true. they have had 11 meetings and he has spoken to the president more than any foreign leader. i have been present during these meetings, open, sometimes very fun funny, had differences in settlement issues and we both call for immediate resumption of direct talks with the palestinians without pre-conditions. i think it will be a great visit. i'm very excited about it.
>> how tenuous is assad 's hold on power and besides chemical weapons , what is the danger to your country if assad is forced out of power?
>> it's always too early to say good-bye to mr. assad . the people at the beginning of the syria civil war said he's going to be gone in two weeks, two months, he has lifelines to keep himself in power. at the end of the day , we think he will go and the quicker the better.
>> would the region be more stable if the united states stepped in a bit more aggressively and supplied weapons to assad 's opponents?
>> we're not going to get involved in making a policy recommendation to syria . we ourselves will not support the opposition.
>> what about unnamed third countries, if unnamed third countries supplied weapons and support to assad 's opponents, would that not make the region more stable?
>> if unnamed countries supplied weapons to the wrong country, it would have a boomerang action. the longer this goes on the longer the islamist imprint will be there. we're aware there are dangers and whatever happens outside syria could bring in very unsavory people including people aligned with al qaeda but if he falls, if and when he falls, it will be a huge blow to iran and huge blow to is bas he bol la and at the end, a net game.
>> what do you want to do to hasten his departure?
>> cut off funds to him, put pressure on those supplying and keeping him in power. you can do that. the case of the russians, convince the russians to get on board to be more productive easing him out and assuring the emergence of a peaceful and democratic syria , not just in israel 's interest, the interest of the entire region and the entire world.
>> how close do you believe believe -- does israel believe iran is to having a nuclear weapon .
>> the question isn't how close to getting a nuclear weapon , how close that we can prevent it.
>> what's the bottom line ?
>> it's a weaponization program, a fuse program, a missile program. one thing we can see is the enrichment cycle monitored by the un. we know where they are. we know at what point they have enough enriched uranium to have a nuclear weapon and they will go underground and we will no longer be able to see it and that is coming up early summer .
>> that's what president netanyahu said.
>> does israel need to move before this summer?
>> israel needs to be in close cooperation with other allies. we see this just not as israel threat, national threat. if israel was completely uninvolved, the president said he would still view it as a threat against america.
>> will israel still move along if they have to.
>> israel has the right and duty to defend itself. president obama said israel has that right and called it publicly. we hope we can reach a diplomatic solution. nobody has a greater stake than we do. we have the most skin in the game. we're there, talking about annihilating us. the sanctions have taken a huge chunk out of the economy but unfortunately haven't stopped the enrichment of the nuclear program . we hope it can be stopped?
>> this wasn't mentioned during the president's message in the state of the union . where is israel going internally now?
>> israel is focused on social issues, some not so different than issues facing this country. livable middle class wage, affordable housing for this country. we have a citizen's army. universal subscription, exemptions for older orthodox jews and discussion about which exemptions have to be continued. we have to deal with peace between arabs in the world and we have a rambunctious democracy and coalition government and we're in the process of putting that coalition together now. prime minister netanyahu wants to primarily gather a coalition that can deal with all those issues at the same time.
>> all right. thank you so much, mr. ambassador. thank you for being here.
>> thank you.
>> coming up next, former secretary of state madeleine ail bright and "gq" editor, michael haines and the mysterious circumstances surrounding his father's death. how do