Could Obama Change the Outcome of the Israeli Election?

It is no secret that President Obama wishes Israel had a prime minister other than Benjamin Netanyahu. For the first time in many years, the Israeli left seems to be presenting a credible electoral threat to the Likud. However, writes, Steven J. Rosen, there are many reasons Israeli voters may still turn toward Netanyahu, and an effort to undermine him by provoking a conflict could backfire. Rosen writes:

[T]he left has its own vulnerability, especially on the issue of the Palestinians. Most Israelis do not think the rise of Hamas, Hizballah, and Islamic State makes this a great time to sign an agreement requiring the IDF to leave the West Bank. They followed Ariel Sharon when he pulled every soldier and every settler out of Gaza in 2005, but what happened after that withdrawal was the opposite of “land for peace.” Disengagement in 2005 brought, not peace, but the election of Hamas in 2006; a coup in Gaza in 2007; three wars in Gaza in 2008-9, 2012, and 2013; 10,000 rockets and missiles where before there were none; tunnels to infiltrate Israeli communities; and lots more. . . .

But where, some argue, Netanyahu may be more vulnerable, is by feeding the belief that he has strained relations with Israel’s traditional allies in the United States and Europe. . . . If Obama decides to pick a fight with Netanyahu to influence the Israeli election, it could be focused on their personal relations. . . . [However,] Obama could pay a price for provoking another confrontation with Bibi. His own credibility is tarnished, particularly in foreign policy. He faces a Republican Congress that is unlikely to go along. The theory that friction will weaken Netanyahu is unproved; the reverse could happen. And Netanyahu may well win the Israeli election on March 17, so Obama needs to think about the morning after.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politics, US-Israel relations

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7