web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



As Islamic Groups Replace Traditional Foes, Israel Faces Long-Term Border Instability

Israeli-Tank-032213

Share Button

HERZLIYA, Israel – Three weeks ago, militants in Gaza landed a rocket near the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Two weeks ago, Egypt raised its state of emergency in the Sinai Peninsula, warning of an increase in jihadist activity there.

Last week, a rock thrown by a West Bank Palestinian critically wounded a 3-year-old Israeli girl.

And this week, Israel plans to ask the United States for support should it strike Syrian weapons convoys en route to Hizbullah in Lebanon.

Along both its northern and southern frontiers, Israel faces more political instability than it has in decades – conditions that some security experts fear could open a door to greater terrorism.

The upheavals of the Arab Spring may have reduced the threat of a conventional war with a neighboring state, but the prospects for peaceful borders – let alone full normalization with the Arab world – have dimmed, forcing Israeli military planners to prepare for long-term uncertainty.

“For the first time in decades, we have four active borders that have terror activities: Lebanon, Syria, Sinai and Gaza,” said Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, director of military intelligence for the Israel Defense Forces.

“The change that’s happening is deep and foundational. The central characteristic of this change, even if it seems banal, is instability and uncertainty.”

Kochavi was speaking last week at the Herzliya Conference, an elite policy and security gathering dominated this year by concerns about terrorist activity on Israel’s frontiers. Kochavi said terrorists are “filling the vacuum” of unstable states. While the consequences have been minimal, officials say the danger of an attack is growing.

“Not a week goes by, not to say hardly a day, when I don’t have to deal with an issue that you didn’t even hear about, that could have resulted in a strategic threat,” IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz told the conference.

Of particular concern to defense officials is the Syrian border, beyond which a civil war has been raging for two years – one that is threatening to spill over. Israel has begun building a fence on the perimeter of the Golan Heights and in January bombed a weapons convoy it feared was being shipped from Syria to Hizbullah operatives in Lebanon.

The possibility that Syrian arms, including stockpiles of chemical weapons, could wind up in the hands of terrorist groups is among the primary security concerns facing Israel. But the threats go deeper.

As secular strongmen have vanished from the stage – first in Egypt, and potentially in Syria – Islamists are rising in their place. It’s a development that could recast the Arab-Israeli conflict in religious rather than geopolitical terms.

“We’re seeing a decline in national identity and a rise in religious identity” in the Arab world, said Dan Meridor, Israel’s outgoing minister of intelligence. “The old paradigm of war is changing its face.”

On the whole, religiously inspired terrorist groups can be difficult to deter. Generally they are less susceptible to diplomatic pressure than nation states. And unlike the dictators they appear to be replacing, the groups enjoy more popular support.

“We used to have three or four enemies,” Meridor said. “Now we have 10,000 or 20,000. Our enemies are greater and are not necessarily states. How do you deter a group that’s not a state?”

Beyond the problem of deterrence is the question of victory. Israel’s recent skirmishes with terrorist groups – notably its 2006 war against Hizbullah and its 2009 and 2012 campaigns against Hamas in Gaza – have led to something closer to stalemate than the decisive victories achieved in past conventional wars.

Lurking behind a few of the non-state actors, though, is a state with which Israelis have become all too familiar: Iran. The Islamic Republic is Hizbullah’s primary funder and one of the few remaining allies of the teetering Assad regime in Syria. Kochavi said that Iran and Hizbullah have organized an army of 50,000 in Syria and are trying to increase their influence there.

“Iran and Hizbullah are both doing all in their power to assist Assad’s regime,” Kochavi said. “Iran and Hizbullah are also preparing for the day after Assad’s fall, when they will use this army to protect their assets and interests in Syria.”

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

2 Responses to “As Islamic Groups Replace Traditional Foes, Israel Faces Long-Term Border Instability”

  1. Yechiel Baum says:

    we need someone's permission to defend oursleves from murder?
    is this WWII all over again?
    Did the USA bomb the railroad tracks that may have saved millions of souls murdered in the death campls yet can spend money to study the effects of nonsense?

  2. Yechiel Baum says:

    we need someone's permission to defend oursleves from murder?
    is this WWII all over again?
    Did the USA bomb the railroad tracks that may have saved millions of souls murdered in the death campls yet can spend money to study the effects of nonsense?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.
Tunisian Jew Stabbed in Djerba
Latest News Stories
The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.

A local Jewish merchant was stabbed Monday on the island of Djerba.

The Israeli hi-tech company Matrix has announced it is opening a “massive training center” in Nanjing, China.

Men who are Kohanim -- members of the priestly caste -- spread their prayer shawls in preparation for the benediction of the Jewish Nation at the Western Wall.

Rabbis have been busy with preparations for the traditional Birkat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing, set for Thursday.

Blue Valley High School, Overland Park, Kansas, the school attended by 14-year-old shooting victim Reat Griffin Underwood.

The suspect charged in the pre-Passover shooting deaths of three people outside two Kansas Jewish centers is a known white supremacist.

More than 400 people sat down at the first seder this year at the Chabad House of Bangkok, Thailand.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

PM Binyamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian Authority incitement for the terrorist murder of a police officer on Passover eve.

The officers had signaled to the Arab driver to pull over. He then rammed into them.

The Palestinian terrorist stood by the side of the road at shot at passing cars with an AK-47.

We would like to wish all our readers a wonderful and kosher Pesach holiday.

Kerry reportedly admitted that he had “made a mistake.”

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

No, it’s not another Haredi protest against the draft, it’s burning the Chametz.

Even the Egyptians didn’t dare do this!

Once again Israel Police closed the Temple Mount to Jews and Christians on the eve of a Jewish holiday, for ‘safety’s sake.’

More Articles from Ben Sales
Yair Lapid

On Monday, Lapid told JTA that he would sooner agree to freeze settlement growth than free Palestinian prisoners, as Netanyahu has done previously in an effort to advance the process.

Mina Yuditskaya Berliner in the Tel Aviv apartment purchased by her former student, Vladimir Putin. 
Credit: Ben Sales

“He was like everyone else,” she said. “He was serious. He wouldn’t mess around. He would do what I said. He was quiet a lot and thought a lot. He did everything well.”

More than having a hand on the wheel, the year since the formation of the new government has seen Jewish Home and the coalition’s other smaller parties driving much of the government’s agenda. Netanyahu’s Likud party has taken a back seat on everything besides security affairs.

Saddled with nearly $370 million in debt and an annual deficit exceeding $85 million, Hadassah Hospital struggles to chart a course back to solvency.

JERUSALEM – To be married in Israel, immigrants must prove their Jewish ancestry to the country’s Chief Rabbinate.

TEL AVIV – The disclosure last week that American intelligence spied on former Israeli prime ministers has given new momentum to the effort to secure a pardon for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

BEIT SHEMESH – It was only when her sons came at her with knives that she realized keeping quiet was not going to work.

TEL AVIV – Following reports of what was almost certainly a chemical weapons attack in Syria, the White House has made moves indicating it may be inching closer to military intervention in the civil war there.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/idf/as-islamic-groups-replace-traditional-foes-israel-faces-long-term-border-instability/2013/03/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: