Understanding the Political, Historical, and Spiritual Roots of the U.S.-Israel Relationship

Traveling to various countries to speak about foreign policy during the George W. Bush administration, Walter Russell Mead encountered a single, widely held idea: that Jewish influence was the best way to explain U.S. conduct abroad. Yet both polling data and Mead’s own casual observations revealed that American Jews overwhelmingly disliked President Bush, making it highly unlikely he was doing their bidding. Then, when Barack Obama became president, Mead’s foreign interlocutors expressed their disappointment that Obama had not created more “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel—and concluded that “the Jews” must be holding him back. This assertion too failed to hold up to even mild scrutiny. Mead thus set out to discover the real reasons for the enduring American alliance with the Jewish state, resulting in his recent book The Arc of a Covenant, which he discusses with Michael Doran. (Audio, 66 minutes)

Read more at Counterbalance

More about: Anti-Semitism, U.S history, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations


Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security