How Israel Can Readjust Its Diplomacy for a Changing Europe

In recent years, Jerusalem has developed good relations with a group of Central European countries that have proved far more sympathetic than those of the West, and whose governments have sometimes stopped the European Union from issuing anti-Israel statements. But Europe, both East and West, is now in a state of political flux, and this approach may soon be obsolete. Emmanuel Navon proposes a new direction for Jewish state that capitalizes on its economic ties with Western Europe. Take, for instance, post-Angela Merkel Germany:

Disagreements between Germany and Israel on the Palestinian issue will likely not be emphasized in the coming years, not least because Israel’s heterogeneous coalition is avoiding controversial moves in this intractable conflict.

At the same time, Israel can and should leverage its added value on two issues dear to the upcoming German coalition: renewable energy and Internet connectivity. With the Greens in the coalition, Germany will speed up its Energiewende (energy transition) with renewable energies. Technological innovation is a crucial factor for improving reliability and reducing the cost of renewable energies, and Israeli technology has much to offer Germany. Moreover, Israeli technology can also play a key role in upgrading Germany’s relatively backward Internet connectivity.

Israel should maintain special ties with East European governments, [but focus on these regimes] may have reached its limit. Too many bridges have been burned with Poland, and the Orban era might end in Hungary. There has been a change of guard in Austria, and there may be one soon in the Czech Republic.

By contrast, political changes are taking place, or are about to take place, in “Old Europe” (mainly France and Germany) that can be turned to Israel’s advantage. If Emmanuel Macron is re-elected in France, he might significantly modify his country’s Middle East policies and participate in a military operation against Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Emmanuel Macron, Europe and Israel, European Union, Germany, Israel diplomacy

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