The Fall of the Soviet Empire Was a Victory for Israel

On June 4, 1988, Poland held its first free elections since before World War II, and Solidarity, the anti-Communist party, won 99 percent of the vote. To Sever Plocker, the date marks the beginning of the end of Communism and therefore of the cold war in Europe. He takes the recent anniversary of the election to reflect on the implications for the Jewish state:

Israel gained a great deal from the collapse of the Soviet empire. Post-Communist governments initiated full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, followed by economic and strategic ties. The arms race to keep up with Soviet armaments, [which flowed freely into the hands of Israel’s enemies], also ended.

In a casual conversation in 1988, the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told the American Jewish oil tycoon Armand Hammer that he would “allow all Jews who want to emigrate to Israel to do so,” and the report [of the conversation] was published as a scoop in [the Israeli paper] Yediot Aḥronot. The more than one million immigrants who have arrived in Israel since then have enabled, among other things, the flourishing of Israeli high-tech, which brought the country at least $450 billion in revenue. Were it not for the sweeping victory of the anti-Communist revolution of 1989, Israel would not be what it is today. It is worth remembering this.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Israeli history, Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian Jewry, Soviet Union

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy