Region Boiling, Israel Takes Up Castle Strategy

(New York Times) Jodi Rudoren - While Israeli leaders continue to see Shiite Iran and its nuclear program as the primary threat to Israel, the mounting strength of extremist Sunni cells in Syria, Iraq and beyond that are pledging to bring jihad to Jerusalem can hardly be ignored. As the chaos escalates, Israeli officials have embraced a castle mentality, hoping the moat they have dug - in the form of high-tech border fences, intensified military deployments and sophisticated intelligence - is broad enough at least to buy time. "What we have to understand is everything is going to be changed," said Yaakov Amidror, who recently stepped down as Israel's national security adviser. "What we see now is a collapsing of a historical system, the idea of the national Arabic state. It means that we will be encircled by an area which will be no man's land at the end of the day." Michael Herzog, a retired Israeli general and former peace negotiator, said that the regional chaos "highlights the need for solid security arrangements." Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, who recently rejoined Mr. Netanyahu's team as a foreign policy adviser, said, "The most important lesson from the last few weeks is that you cannot rely on a snapshot of reality at any given time in order to plan your strategic needs....You shouldn't be intimidated by people saying, 'Well, that's a worst-case analysis,' because lately, the worst is coming through."

2014-01-20 00:00:00

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