web analytics
October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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

Israeli-Tank-032213

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.”

Experts said that in the face of four insecure borders, Israel’s best bet is to stay alert and hang tough. But Danny Rothschild, director of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya’s Institute of Policy and Strategy, told the conference that Israel needs to be proactive in directing the Middle East toward peace and prosperity.

“Israel needs to be more involved in shaping the future of the region, even in a quiet way,” he said. “I have a feeling events will make it deal with issues, even if it hasn’t intended to.”

(JTA)

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Current Top Story
Agam Luria, from a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley, was identified as one of the four Israelis killed in the Nepal blizzard.
Israeli Sherpa ‘Pony Express’ Saved Hundreds in Nepal Blizzard
Latest News Stories

Leslie W., 48, and his partner Akiwa H., 56, are charged with having sold more than 88,000 pounds of non-kosher meat for a marked-up price.

RCA Logo

The Rabbinical Council of America said that since the arrest last week of Rabbi Barry Freundel of Washington, DC, it has been working assiduously to address the many challenges that its members and their communities now face.

Agam Luria, from a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley, was identified as one of the four Israelis killed in the Nepal blizzard.

It was an outright miracle: a tiny teahouse in the pass, and the equivalent of a Sherpa Pony Express to deliver a call for help.

May God grant their wish to be killed.

ISIS propaganda video warns “our grandchildren will sell your sons as slaves.”

At least eight civilians were killed in US-led coalition air strikes against ISIS in a Syrian town near Deir el-Zour.

Hezbollah guerrillas are back on Israel’s northern border even though they’re busy in Syria. The question is what they’re planning and when.

Let’s raise funds to send her to Syria where she can put some sense in her head, if it stays attached.

An Israeli and an Arab poll results after the war.

The long ordeal of the Armenian Orphan Rug, held hostage to fears of angering Turkey, has finally ended. Or has it?

Dr. Eli Harari will receive the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

New York State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz criticized the decision to not charge the suspect with a hate crime.

Former White House official Ron Klain has been tapped to coordinate the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

The mountain trek of a lifetime has ended for Israeli hiker Michal Gili Charkesky, whose body was recovered from the Himalayas.

Yaakov Halul is Israel’s first official Aramean.

More Articles from Ben Sales
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

IDF soldiers rush injured Israelis to Soroka Hospital in Beersheva after a mortar fired from Gaza exploded at an army staging area near Kibbutz Nirim, close to the Gaza border. The attack occurred shortly before a cease-fire went into effect on Tuesday. Three Israelis visiting the area were hit; two of them died of their wounds.

After a month, should the quiet hold, Israel and Hamas will restart indirect negotiations in Cairo on easing Israel’s blockade of the coastal strip and disarming the enclave.

Shlomy Zachary, an Israeli human rights lawyer, noted that Israeli cooperation with previous UN investigations has helped mitigate criticism of Israel – for example, in a 2010 UN investigation of the so-called flotilla incident.

Smart bombs: Israeli war technology isn’t limited to the home front.

“The values I learned from my parents are probably the same values I hope Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists teach to their people.”

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.

“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.

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: