Does Israel Need Diaspora Jewry?

In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, some Israeli politicians have called on French Jews to move to Israel. Critics argued that it was not the place of Israel’s leaders to make such an appeal and, furthermore, that it is in Israel’s interest to have the continued support of Diaspora communities. Taking a more nuanced view, Yaakov Amidror stipulates that, on the one hand, Israel’s “situation would be better in every way if twice as many Jews lived” there:

It would be easier to deal with internal issues such as preserving the state’s Jewish character. It would be simpler to develop the economy, since it is hard to base a national economy on just eight million citizens. A potential enlistment pool twice as large would make it easier to deal with security problems, to name just a few examples. . . .

In addition, Israel must not base its relationship with the U.S. or with other democratic countries on the “Jewish connection” alone. It is better for future relations . . . if it is clear that the relationship is based on mutual interests and on the support that stems from shared values, which Israel promotes in a challenging region.

On the other hand, Amidror writes that “Of course, as long as Jews live in those countries, mutual involvement must be nurtured seriously and the connection between those communities and Israel must be strengthened.”

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Aliyah, Diaspora, European Jewry, French Jewry, Israel & Zionism

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security