The Diplomatic Agenda behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s European Travels

Yesterday, Benjamin Netanyahu met with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz; last week, he was in Rome meeting with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The Israeli prime minister was also in Paris in February and is expected to visit Britain soon. While Netanyahu has received domestic criticism for being out of the country amid terrorist attacks and ongoing controversy over legal reform, his recent travel is in the service of an urgent, diplomatic purpose, according to Ron Ben-Yishai. That purpose is to shore up support for resisting Iran:

Netanyahu has apparently been attempting to convey to his European counterparts that weapons shipments coming out of the Islamic Republic are mostly meant for Moscow, to assist Russian efforts in the less-than-stellar military campaign against Ukraine. That in itself, Netanyahu says, compromises all of Europe. He has stressed to them that the technological and military cooperation between Russia and Iran is designed, among other things, to improve the accuracy and range of Iranian-made payload-carrying drones and anti-aircraft missiles to target the Ukrainians. In exchange, Iran gets a fresh supply of Russian fighter jets.

All of that will not only serve to prolong the war in Ukraine, but to make it easier for the Iranians to endanger shipping routes from the Persian Gulf to Europe, thus compromising the Israeli capability to defend the homeland effectively.

In comes Netanyahu’s wish for a weapons embargo on Iran, set by the UN Security Council, a move that could hamper Iranian efforts to secure the requisite military capabilities to mount such a threat. . . . Netanyahu, meanwhile, has no desire to be on Vladimir Putin’s bad side. Russian retaliation against Israel could come across in the form of banning the Israeli aviation from utilizing the Russian airspace, which could change the nature of Israeli commercial flights to southeast [and east] Asia. [Moscow] could also scramble communication frequencies and launch cyberattacks against Israel.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Europe and Israel, Iran, Israeli Security, Israeli-German relations, War in Ukraine

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