Why Time Is on Israel's Side

[BESA/Bar-Ilan University] Efraim Inbar - Over time the power differential between Israel and its regional foes has grown. While Israel has become stronger, its enemies, with the exception of Iran, have become weaker. Moreover, the Jewish state is widely recognized as an entrenched reality even by Arab and Muslim states. The common image of a deeply-torn Israel is inaccurate, as social cohesion is greater than before. The Ashkenazi/Sephardi social rift has become much less divisive than in the past, with an influx of Sephardi Jews into the middle class and into the ranks of the senior officers of the Israeli military. An analysis of the political, social and economic dynamics within Israel indicates that time is on Israel's side. The ideological debate over the future of the territories acquired in 1967 is over. The Sinai was relinquished in 1979 and Gaza in 2005. Over two-thirds of Israelis oppose any territorial concessions in the Golan Heights. Concerning Judea and Samaria, there is a great majority in favor of partition and in favor of retaining the settlement blocs, Jerusalem (the Temple Mount), and the Jordan Rift Valley. Expectations for peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians after the Oslo agreements have been replaced by a sober consensus that peace is not around the corner. The failures of the Palestinian national movement and the ascent of Hamas in Palestinian politics have elicited greater understanding for the Israeli predicament. 9/11 was an event that also sensitized much of the world to Israel's dilemmas in fighting Palestinian terrorism. The only serious security challenge is a nuclear Iran. Possibly, Israel might be left alone to deal with the ayatollahs, but the obstruction of the Iranian nuclear program is not beyond the capabilities of Jerusalem. The writer is Director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

2008-05-23 01:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive