Reviving Western concerns that his government is still contemplating unilateral military action against Iran, Ehud Barak gave one of the clearest signs yet that Israel's support for new US and EU sanctions remains strictly limited.
"We are determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear," he told the World Economic Forum in Davos. "And even the American president and opinion leaders have said that no option should be removed from the table.
"It seems to us to be urgent, because the Iranians are deliberately drifting into what we call an immunity zone where practically no surgical operation could block them."
Although Israeli intelligence and military officials have privately spoken of Iran's nuclear programme entering a "framework of immunity", it is the first time that a senior figure in Benjamin Netanyahu's government has done so in public.
Israel's fears that it might soon be too late to launch military action were bolstered earlier this month when Iran announced that it had begun to enrich uranium at its Fordow plant, which is buried so deep within a mountain it may be impossible for Israeli warplanes or missiles to destroy.