Where Israel and the Diaspora Divide

According to Yossi Klein Halevi, while the majority of Israelis believe that the greatest current threat to Israel is a nuclear Iran, many if not most American Jews believe it is Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank. The two communities also divide over Israel’s sporadic wars with Hamas and Hizballah:

Israelis believe that, while none of these [mini-wars] are in themselves existential, their cumulative effect surely is. The purpose of the terror groups is to defeat us through exhaustion and self-doubt, confronting us with the choice between defending ourselves in inevitably ugly wars that lead to Israel’s increased isolation, or forfeiting our right to defend ourselves and causing Israelis to despair of our future in the Middle East.

As a result, Israelis have relearned the instinct of uniting under threat. We may go at each other viciously during election campaigns, but as soon as the rockets of Hamas or Hizballah start falling on the home front, Israel becomes an instant family. But that Israeli consensus no longer extends to the Diaspora, where voices opposing Israel—especially during our asymmetrical conflicts—are growing. . . .

At stake is nothing less than our ability to function as a people—one of the great achievements of the Zionist revolution. And so we are left with this challenge: how to remain faithful to our most deeply held truths about Israel’s predicament, while remaining faithful to our mutual covenant as a people.

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Read more at Jewish Week

More about: American Jewry, American Zionism, Iran nuclear program, Israel & Zionism, Israel and the Diaspora, Terrorism

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin