Israel downplayed reported airstrikes against Iran that appeared to hit targets near that country’s suspected nuclear program on Friday, seeming to cast the operation as proof Israel could reach the sites, rather than a full-scale attack.

As Breitbart News noted, there were media reports that Israeli drones, or missiles, had hit targets near Isfahan, Iran — close to the Natanz nuclear facility — as well as targets in Syria and Iraq. Israel’s Army Radio repeated these reports.

However, there were no reports of what the damage might have been, and one Israeli lawmaker — national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir — posted dismissively on Twitter/X that the attack had been a “scarecrow,” or “lame.”

That post appeared to represent an acknowledgment by Israel that it was, in fact, the source of the strikes — which would have been a counterattack to Iran’s massive missile and drone attack last weekend, which Israel intercepted.

While some in Israel wanted a more forceful response, seeing an opportunity to target Iran’s nuclear program and even the regime itself, others believed that simply demonstrating Iran’s limits, and Israel’s capabilities, was enough.

The U.S. appeared to discourage a strong Israeli response, with President Joe Biden reportedly telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to respond, and that the U.S. would not be party to any counterattack by Israel.

However, Israel had already pledged to respond to any attack originating from Iranian territory — as most of the missiles and drones had done — with a direct attack on Iran. Israeli military leaders reaffirmed that pledge this week.

There were reports that Israel had agreed to limit its response to Iran in exchange for obtaining U.S. approval for an operation in the city of Rafah, in Gaza, to destroy the last Hamas battalions there.

It is also possible that the U.S. threatened to allow a United Nations Security Council resolution approving a Palestinian state to pass if Israel did not restrain itself. The administration was coy about whether it would veto the resolution until just hours before the vote.

The most immediate threat to Israeli security is Iranian-backed Hezbollah, the terrorist army on its northern border. As Breitbart News reported this week, some 60,000 Israelis are still refugees from Israel’s northern border towns. Hezbollah continues to fire missiles, rockets, and drones at those communities, and Israel has been returning fire. Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Israeli commandos were operating on the Lebanese site of the border.

For Israelis, the priorities are finishing Hamas, rescuing the hostages, pushing Hezbollah back from the border, and removing the threat to shipping by the Houthis in Yemen.

Iran backs all of these groups, but remains distant, for now.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.