By Picking Fights with Israel, the U.S. Is Encouraging Hizballah

If Israel were to take dramatic action against its nuclear program, Iran would likely retaliate by unleashing the full strength of Hizballah and its vast arsenal of rockets and drones. But if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, it can use them to deter any Israeli attempt to destroy Hizballah. The Lebanon-based terrorist group has already succeeded in driving thousands of Israelis from their homes, and just yesterday launched 45 rockets into the Western Galilee. To prevent a major conflict, France and the U.S. have been engaged in frantic diplomatic activity, but their proposals seem unlikely to bring about anything like lasting calm. David Daoud and Jonathan Schanzer write that

the international community’s fixation on futile deals has only whetted Hizballah’s appetite for violence. The group sees the desperation to prevent a wider war. Its leaders note with glee how Israel has been restrained by the Biden administration. Their belief—mistaken and dangerous—is that Israel’s hands are tied by the White House.

The Biden administration’s baseless signals of public displeasure with Jerusalem are undeniably seen by Hizballah as a constraint on Israeli freedom of action. They are also treated as a green light for Hizballah’s provocations. Washington’s decision to pause weapons shipments to Israel surely encouraged Hizballah’s latest and most dangerous escalation. The group’s attacks suddenly became more destructive, reaching deeper into Israel.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hizballah, Iran, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship


Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation