After the Taliban Victory: An Alliance of Moderation for the Middle East

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Amb. Dore Gold - We in Israel have to team up with our Sunni Arab allies to build a new security consensus for the Middle East. After Prime Minister Netanyahu's 2015 speech to Congress on the Iranan threat, a whole new approach became visible to us in the Sunni Arab world. It became clear that they understood the dangers of the Middle East the same way we did and the basis for a real alliance between former enemies became very real. Saudi Arabia is a different country today and we in Israel have to find ways to reach out to it, as well as its other neighbors, to build an alliance of moderation for the Middle East against the forces that are threatening us. Iran seems determined to get a nuclear weapons capability to threaten the existence of the State of Israel and we have to behave as though that is the case. Jerusalem Center experts who do research in Farsi (Persian) have made clear that the Iranian defense doctrine is very much influenced by Shiite religious considerations. If, for example, the Jewish population in the world is destroyed, that will accelerate the arrival of the hidden imam known as the Mahdi, the 12th imam. The mutual suspicion between parts of the Sunni world and parts of the Shia world is much more intense than the Arab-Israel conflict. We should expose the Arab public to how the Jewish people and the Sunni world have worked together in the past. I remind Middle Eastern audiences that after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans, for 500 years Jews were forbidden from living in our holy city, and when the second caliph of Islam, Umar ibn Al-Khattab, came into Jerusalem, he reopened the city to the Jewish people. As director-general of the Israel Foreign Ministry, I visited South Africa and learned of the Jewish home outside Johannesburg where Nelson Mandela would hide from the police. While he was there he read the books in the home. One was The Revolt by Menachem Begin. Months later, at the UN General Assembly, I met with the foreign minister of South Africa, who was known as a radical extremist. I told her the story of Nelson Mandela reading Begin's book and said, "The head of your national movement read a book written by the head of my national movement." The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center. This is from a Zoom interview with Sapir journal editor-in-chief Bret Stephens on August 16, 2021.

2021-08-19 00:00:00

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