Ukraine’s Plight Reminds Israel Why It Must Defend Itself, by Itself

With the winds of war again blowing in Europe, David Horovitz recalls two interviews he conducted: one two years ago with the Jewish comedian-turned-Ukrainian-president Volodymyr Zelensky, and one last week with the Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid. Both conversations, for Horovitz, emphasized something essential about Israel’s situation:

My heart goes out to Ukraine’s president today, bracing for a possible Russian invasion, defiant, championing his country’s sovereignty and integrity, massively outgunned, uncertain of the potency of international support. And I note something else he said in our interview, his possibly envious, certainly admiring observation that “there are many countries in the world that can protect themselves, but Israel, such a small country, can not only protect itself, but, facing external threats, can respond.”

Lapid, [meanwhile], has been walking the tightrope between expressing principled opposition to a Russian invasion and ensuring the wellbeing of Israelis and Jews in Ukraine, on one hand, and trying, on the other, not to alienate a Russian president with whom Israel has a complex, critical relationship—both because of Moscow’s Middle East presence and influence, and because of Russia’s significant Jewish community.

“This is very 20th century, one country invading another,” said Lapid of the crisis, initially taking the dispassionate historical view. . . . But soon enough in our conversation, he reflected on the Israeli implications. I put it to him that it seemed like the world was doing nothing to protect a sovereign country.

If we thought the danger of despotic regimes remaking the world map was “very 20th century,” along comes Russia to slap us back to our senses. And if we thought the oft-declared imperative that Israel be able, always, to defend itself, by itself, was mere outdated rhetoric, the vulnerability of Volodymyr Zelensky’s Ukraine, and his admiration for our country, underlines its critical relevance.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli Security, War in Ukraine, Yair Lapid

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy