Thoughts on Yitzhak Rabin’s Assassination, a Quarter-Century On

Oct. 30 2020

On the Jewish calendar, today is the 25th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin’s assassination at the hands of a fellow Jewish Israeli. Rabin, after a long and impressive career in the military and in politics, had not long beforehand signed the Oslo Accords, and was murdered by a zealous opponent of that decision. Reflecting on the occasion, David Horovitz writes:

The peace effort collapsed in the aftermath of the Rabin assassination. For what it’s worth, looking back, this writer believes it would have collapsed had he lived—foundering on the duplicity of Yair Arafat, destroyed by the terrorism the PLO leader never abandoned; Eitan Haber, Rabin’s most trusted aide, once told me why he disagreed, though he stressed that this was, obviously, only “an assessment.”

What is clear is that Israel hauled itself back from the abyss into which it stared on the night of November 4, 1995. We internalized that our country simply would not survive if it continued to tear itself apart from within, not in this unforgiving region.

A quarter-century later, our streets are again full of demonstrators and counter-demonstrators—reviling and championing a prime minister, with sometimes vicious rhetoric and a worrying clatter of confrontation and violence. . . . We’ve been there, came back from the brink, and owe it to ourselves and our tiny, precious country to remember how greatly what unites us outweighs our divisions, and act accordingly.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli politics, Oslo Accords, Yitzhak Rabin

How Israel and Its Allies Could Have a Positive Influence on the Biden Administration’s Iran Policy

Nov. 25 2020

While the president-elect has expressed his desire to return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, this should not in itself cause worry in Jerusalem; it has never been the Israeli government’s position that a deal with Tehran is undesirable, only that the flaws of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration outweighed its benefits. Thus Yaakov Amidror, Efraim Inbar, and Eran Lerman urge Israel to approach Joe Biden’s national-security team—whose senior members were announced this week—to urge them to act prudently:

To the greatest extent possible, such approaches should be made jointly, or in very close coordination with, Israel’s new partners in the Gulf. These countries share Israel’s perspectives on the Iranian regional threat and on the need to block Tehran’s path to nuclear weapons.

For Israel, for Iran-deal skeptics in Washington, and for her partners in the region, the first operational priority is to persuade the incoming U.S. national-security team to maintain full leverage on Iran. Sanctions against Iran should not be lifted as a “gesture” without a verified Iranian return to the status quo ante (at the very least) in terms of low-enriched-uranium stockpiles and ongoing enrichment activities.

In parallel, there may emerge a unique opportunity to close ranks with the French (and with Boris Johnson’s government in London) on the Iranian question. On several issues (above all, the struggle for hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean, against Turkey), Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi, and Paris now see eye-to-eye. On Iran, during the negotiations leading to the [deal] in 2015, the position of France was often the most robust. In 2018, President Macron was willing to reach an operational understanding with Secretary of State Pompeo on [key issues regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities].

Last but certainly not least, it should be clear to the incoming U.S. national-security team that any attempt to negotiate must be, can be, and (as far as Israel is concerned) firmly will be backed by a credible military threat.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: France, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, US-Israel relations