U.S.-Israel Cooperation Can Be a Model for Countering China

In the past year, a consensus has emerged in Washington that Beijing poses an economic, security, and military threat to American interests. The Trump administration has therefore been pressuring its allies, including Israel, to pull back from commercial and technological cooperation with China. As a result, the Jewish state has taken some important steps to distance itself from the Asian power. But, write Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer, the U.S. must also help Jerusalem find much-needed economic investment elsewhere, and can do so in ways beneficial to America’s emerging anti-China coalition:

Founded in 1977 by the U.S. and Israel with bipartisan support from Congress, the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) had approved 1,000 joint American-Israeli projects and grants of $363 million, as of 2019. Other binational agreements between the two countries build on the BIRD model, including the Binational Agricultural Research and Development fund and the Binational Science Foundation.

[Additionally, there is the] potential of bringing in America’s Indo-Pacific allies who view Beijing’s rise with justifiable alarm. They can displace Chinese investments. The India-Israel Research and Development Cooperation Initiative, for example, which is based on the BIRD model, could include American participation to jumpstart greater Indian investment in Israel’s high-tech sector. Other Indo-Pacific allies should be brought into new BIRD-like trilateral agreements with the U.S. and Israel in order to unleash more capital.

Congress should build upon the success of the BIRD. It has already jumpstarted U.S.-Israel high-tech cooperation. It’s time now to help Israel and our friends in the Indo-Pacific region develop technologies critical to the competition with Beijing. In doing so, America can displace Chinese funding in Israel and mount a successful campaign to counter Chinese influence that should have started long ago.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: India, Israel-China relations, Israeli economy, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security