With New Leaders and New Challenges, the U.S. and Israel Need to Renew Their Sense of Common Purpose

On August 27, Naftali Bennett and Joe Biden met in the White House: the first meeting with an American head of state for Bennett since becoming prime minister, and the first meeting with a head of the Israeli government for Biden since becoming president. Jonathan Schanzer considers the future of the alliance between Jerusalem and Washington in light of the new administrations, and changing global circumstances:

Shared Western values have been the cornerstone of the U.S.-Israel relationship for more than 70 years. But that relationship now needs a greater sense of common purpose.

Israel may seek to demonstrate how it can support America in [its] looming tussle with Beijing. The Israelis can set an example for how allies can optimize their economic and diplomatic engagements with America’s adversary to mitigate risk—and in fact, are already doing so, even if there is more work to be done. Israel could also serve as the eyes and ears for America in the Middle East, where China clearly seeks to build up assets.

The future could also be built on military cooperation. Israel is one of the few military powers capable of defending American interests, even when America is unwilling or unable to do so. It has played this role for years, taking out the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear programs and undermining the Iranian program through cyber and other means. Looking ahead, the Israelis could forge deeper alliances with some of their new peace partners in pursuit of this mission.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: China, Joseph Biden, Naftali Bennett, US-Israel relations

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7