The Latest Attack Suggests Israel Is Changing Its Syria Strategy

On Thursday, airstrikes at the Damascus airport, thought to have been carried out by the IDF, reportedly destroyed three arms depots used by Iranian proxy militias. While such attacks have become almost commonplace in what Jerusalem calls “the campaign between the wars,” this particular one stood out, in that serious damage was also done to the runways and even an observation tower, leading to a temporary suspension of flights. Yoav Limor believes this to be not mere collateral damage, but evidence of a shift in strategy:

The central goal of the Israeli Air Force’s alleged strike on Thursday night was not Iran, but Syria. . . . Israel may have sought to pressure the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad into adopting a more active and assertive position against Iran’s use of his territory and infrastructure to continue to smuggle arms to Hizballah and various other powerful elements inside Syria.

In the seven years since it began, the campaign between the wars has recorded quite a few achievements. The intelligence infiltration that allowed for hundreds of attacks did serious harm to Iran’s intentions of establishing permanent bases and armed militias inside Syria and significantly disrupted the weapons convoys to Hizballah. On the other hand, it failed to dissuade the Iranians from continuing their efforts.

The aim now, therefore, is to exert further pressure on them not from Israel, but from Syria. To lead Assad to draw the conclusion that the direct price he will pay for Iran’s continued activity in his country will be higher than the price he will pay for confronting them.

It is doubtful, [however], that Assad truly wants to restrict the Iranians. He owes them his life after they came to his defense with the funds and means necessary in his most difficult hour in the Syrian civil war. Even if Assad were interested in ousting Iran, . . . it’s unlikely he would succeed. Syria is weak, broken, and rotten from the inside, and Iran is now deeply entrenched in the country.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Iran, Israeli Security, Syria

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation