What Israeli Conservatives Can Learn from Their American Counterparts

While the Israeli right dates back to the early days of Zionism, it is only recently that some its members have begun to think of themselves as conservatives—a word that remains rare on the pens and lips of journalists and politicians. Those Israelis who are trying to create a self-consciously conservative political orientation naturally look to the American example. Responding to a recent article on the subject (in Hebrew) by the Israeli intellectual Gadi Taub, Peter Berkowitz comments on how that model relates to the conditions of the Jewish state:

To make good on their aspiration to develop a self-conscious Israeli conservatism, maintains Taub, religious Zionist intellectuals must grasp that the Mizraḥi traditionalists, [that is, Jews of Middle Eastern origin with traditional, if not strictly Orthodox, attitudes toward religion, family, and nationhood], represent the “wide and sturdy base of that which deserves to be called conservatism in Israel.” . . . In this, Taub provides further confirmation of [the English political philosopher Edmund] Burke’s pertinence to Israeli conservatism. Like his heirs in the post-World War II conservative movement in America, Burke defended the moral outlook and everyday ways of ordinary people from the pretensions of those keen to use government to dictate morals and manage citizens’ lives.

Taub does not stress it, but individual freedom—basic civil and political liberties of the sort that flow from unalienable rights—is essential in a pluralistic democracy like Israel’s as well. By limiting state power, individual rights both safeguard minorities from oppressive expressions of majority will and protect the majority from managerial elites and judges and government bureaucrats determined on their own authority to override majority preferences and moral judgments to implement their class’s preferences and moral judgments.

Individual rights and the respect for human dignity which they reflect, moreover, have strong roots in Zionism, as attested to by the abundant appeals to fundamental rights in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Conservatism, Israeli politics, John Locke

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