The Deadly Toll of TikTok Terror, and How to Combat It

Oct. 13 2022

On Saturday, the eighteen-year-old Israeli soldier Noa Lazar was shot dead at a checkpoint in eastern Jerusalem. Another soldier, Ido Baruch, was killed on Tuesday. Although Hamas “blessed” the first attack, it did not claim responsibility for it; meanwhile, the Shin Bet broke up one of the group’s West Bank cells yesterday. Ron Ben-Yishai puts these attacks in the context of a seven-month-long wave of terrorism, fueled by social media and declining faith in both the established terrorist groups and the Palestinian Authority:

Saturday’s terror attack matches what came to be known as the “TikTok intifada.” Most of the attacks in recent weeks were carried out by Palestinians aged thirty and younger and primarily targeted Israeli security forces.

The Lions’ Den, a new Palestinian terror group is an example. Several local young criminals obtained firearms, carried out attacks, and became a source of inspiration and imitation to other young Palestinians. And when interrogated by Shin Bet, they often admit they didn’t act out of ideological, political, or religious motives, but rather from the desire to become social-media stars.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not leading the ongoing terror wave; instead, they incite and fund it directly and indirectly, while sitting on the sidelines and enjoying the fruits of terror.

Unlike previous escalations in the West Bank, flooding the region with IDF soldiers won’t dispirit the Palestinian youth from carrying out attacks. . . . On the other hand, there is some truth to the claim that if the IDF were to halt its daily operations and nighttime raids, Palestinian militants—who have already experienced clashes with security forces—will not lay down their weapons. Instead, they will seek confrontation with Israeli security forces in other places, such as checkpoints, the West Bank border barrier, and other flashpoints.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, Social media, West Bank

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship