Israel Can, and Will, Outlive Its Third-Generation Crisis

As Israel approaches the 75th anniversary of its creation while riven by domestic controversy, David Hazony compares it to other regimes that have suffered crises in what he terms their third generation. The United States fought a civil war 74 years after the ratification of the constitution; the USSR collapsed 74 years after the Bolshevik revolution. And the ancient kingdom of Israel, after its golden age under David and Solomon, was split in two during the reign of Solomon’s son. Yet, despite the deep divisions revealed by the question of judicial reform, Hazony is optimistic about the future of the present Jewish state:

The clash, if we are to be honest, is between two contradictory patriotic Israeli movements. Two different Jewish nationalisms, two forms of Zionism, relying on two different understandings of the word “democracy.” One seeks redress of injustice and counterrevolution, and to create an authentically Jewish state. The other wants to preserve the liberal order and the “light unto nations.” One sees the Jewish state as a “democracy” whose just powers of government derive from the consent of the governed; the other sees “democracy”—as expressed in rights, freedom, and equality—as inherent and non-negotiable elements of any Jewish state.

The Soviet Union crashed and burned because its citizens had long given up on the national dream of a beautiful future of equality through Communism. The United States fought a brutal Civil War that sacrificed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans and required more than a decade of military occupation of the South, but which ultimately yielded a Second Founding, a national rebirth.

Israel can afford neither, and for this reason I am optimistic. Israel’s leaders, both government and opposition, have for the first time begun negotiating the contours of an “alternative reform”—which may actually be nothing less than a constitution for the Jewish state.

To me it is clear: Israel, the glorious miracle of Jewish rebirth, now celebrating its 75th independence day, is not nearing its end. On the contrary, it is just getting started.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: American Civil War, Israeli Judicial Reform, Israeli society

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security