Israel and the New Europe

Even as the capitals of Western Europe, and the EU itself, have proved to be sources of hostility toward the Jewish state, it is worth bearing in mind, writes Judith Bergman, that the countries of the former Soviet bloc—what Donald Rumsfeld termed “the new Europe”—are much better disposed:

Several East European countries, while having pasts rife with virulent anti-Semitism . . . differ greatly in their policies toward Israel [when] compared to their West European counterparts. That does not mean that everything they do is in favor of Israel; far from it. The entire EU, including those East European countries, voted in favor of the latest UN resolution [slandering] Israel [as] the world’s only health violator. . . .

Nevertheless, East European countries today represent the only part of Europe that, out of national interest or a genuine sense of solidarity, stands with Israel in one form or another. . . . In December, Czech lawmakers passed resolutions criticizing the decision by the European Union to label Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, and urged the Czech government not to abide by it. Characteristically, all Czech political parties supported the resolutions, even those on the left, save for the Communists. . . .

Most recently, the Slovak and Lithuanian parliaments have decided to form pro-Israeli caucuses, a result of an initiative by the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, the World Jewish Congress, and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. . . .

[These countries may sympathize with Israel] because they still retain a sense of logic and pride in their heritage and do not harbor any secret wish for national suicide. After living under totalitarianism for over a half-century—while Western Europe was harvesting the peace dividend of being under the American protective wing and growing increasingly more wealthy and materialistic, forgetting completely what it means to be terrorized—those countries that used to be under the Soviet boot see very clearly that Israel’s fight against Islamic terrorism is their fight, too.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Lithuania, Slovakia

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria