No, Israel’s New Government Won’t Bring about a Rift with Washington

In America, the left wing of the Democratic party has been growing in influence even as it has become increasingly hostile to the Jewish state—leading to predictions of a fracturing of U.S.-Israel relations. Likewise, Israeli and American media have been publishing various warnings that the hard-right members of the new governing coalition in Jerusalem will push America away. Zalman Shoval argues that these concerns are overblown, citing a recent speech by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the self-styled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying group J Street:

Blinken praised Israel’s democratic elections and congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu on his victory, stressing the importance of relations between the U.S. and Israel regardless of the political hue of its government.

He specifically reiterated the importance of American security-related support for Israel, emphasizing that “no peace is possible or sustainable without a strong, secure Israel,” specifying that “our assistance to Israel is sacrosanct” and that “the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security assistance has never been stronger than it is today.” He also mentioned the administration’s opposition to BDS and anti-Israel discrimination in international forums such as the United Nations.

There were some raised eyebrows over the U.S. secretary of state delivering his speech to an organization that is not known to be supportive of most Israeli positions, and not only Netanyahu’s. However, [Blinken] probably did so expressly in order to signal to the left of the Democratic party in Congress, which opposes aid to Israel—including cooperation on security-related issues—that the administration would continue its course, a stance which was also underpinned by recent statements of the U.S. ambassador to Jerusalem Thomas Nides.

The eminent American historian Walter Russell Mead, one of the most senior and respected experts on U.S. foreign policy, in his recently published book, The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel and the Fate of the Jewish People, advances the thesis that the U.S.-Israel alliance is not only stable but that American support for Israel over the past 40 years served the American interest and that America needed Israel, and not the other way around.

In practice, Shoval writes, this means that Israel has grown too important to America, and vice-versa, for some sort of rift to be on the immediate horizon.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Antony Blinken, Benjamin Netanyahu, Democrats, J Street, U.S.-Israel relationship

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