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Perspectives Papers

Egypt’s Army Will Not Intervene

Prof. Hillel Frisch
Perspectives Papers No. 200, March 12, 2013

Hopes or expectations that the Egyptian military will intervene in the deteriorating political and security crisis are probably misguided. The army is loath to take on the well-organized and powerful Muslim Brotherhood because the majority of its soldiers support the Islamist government. It also wants to avoid losing financial backing from the US, which would not support a military coup.

Iron Dome: Has the Euphoria Been Justified?

Prof. Avi Kober
Perspectives Papers No. 199, February 25, 2013

Early praise for the Iron Dome system may be deserved. Yet Israel’s deterrence capability has not been enhanced, and the Iron Dome may initiate an arms race among Israel’s enemies to try and defeat it. Moreover, its success lowers the chance for Israeli punitive actions that are needed for deterrence.

The US and Iran: Pre-Negotiation Maneuvering

Prof. Eytan Gilboa
Perspectives Papers No. 198, February 19, 2013

The United States and Iran are trading diplomatic fire, with each side demanding conditions for direct negotiations to discuss Iran’s nuclear crisis. Neither side seems willing to budge on these demands, which raises the possibility that Iran will continue its drive to the bomb, leaving Obama with no other choice but to take military action.

Mali: A Diplomatic Opportunity for Israel

Dr. Emmanuel Navon
Perspectives Papers No. 197, February 11, 2013

France’s military intervention against Mali’s Islamists has provided Israel with an opportunity to improve its relations with France and restore its ties with Africa’s non-Arab Muslim countries. This opportunity should be seized by Israel’s next foreign minister.

Morsi’s Egypt and Ahmadinejad’s Iran:
Much Ado Over Next to Nothing

Prof. Hillel Frisch
Perspectives Papers No. 196, February 10, 2013

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s hosting last week of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signals a potential improvement in ties between Egypt and Iran. It also sends a strong message to the US that Morsi’s Egypt is different than Mubarak’s Egypt. Morsi’s move, however, will backfire, as it endangers Cairo’s receiving much-needed economic aid from the US and Gulf states. Ultimately he needs the US and Gulf countries more than they need him.

Abbas Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 195, January 15, 2013

Though much of the international community sees Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as a serious partner for peace, Abbas’ words and actions prove that he is interested in nothing less than the ruin of the State of Israel. Instead of preparing his people for painful concessions and peaceful coexistence with Israel, Abbas glorifies armed struggle, insists on Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” to Israel, and acts to criminalize and demonize Israel.

Russia’s Declining Influence in the Middle East

Dr. Anna Geifman and Yuri Teper
Perspectives Papers No. 194, December 24, 2012

Russian involvement in the Middle East is presently nothing more than an attempt by Moscow to hold on to its deteriorating position on the international stage. Russia’s support of the Assad regime in Syria has hurt its image and weakened its influence in other Arab countries. Although it will not be able to provide financial assistance, Russia may try to fill a vacuum should the US scale back its ties to the new Islamist governments in the region.

A Second Term Obama Administration and the Middle East

David Makovsky
Perspectives Papers No. 193, December 16, 2012

The changes in the region will force the Obama administration to make some difficult decisions on how to act regarding Egypt, Syria, the Palestinians, and Iran. The administration will need to be careful in how it deals with the Egyptian government and how it handles its support for the Syrian opposition. Most importantly, alarmist scenarios that a second term Obama administration will abandon Israel are unwarranted.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Its True Intentions Towards Israel

Dr. Liad Porat
Perspectives Papers No. 192, December 10, 2012

When speaking to the Western world, the Egyptian government led by the Muslim Brotherhood preaches its commitment to the peace treaty with Israel. To its own countrymen, however, the Brotherhood, led by President Mohamed Morsi, has made no secret of its desire to cancel the treaty. The Brotherhood sees Israel as a strategic threat and has aggressively lobbied Morsi to strengthen Egyptian military presence in Sinai. While a military conflict with Egypt is not likely in the near future, the anti-Israel rhetoric emanating from senior Brotherhood leaders must be taken seriously.

Israel’s Dilemma in Gaza

Prof. Shmuel Sandler
Perspectives Papers No. 191, December 6, 2012

Israel’s reluctance to inflict a decisive defeat of Hamas in Operation Pillar of Defense indicates its desire for a new arrangement for the Gaza Strip. Israel has no interest in a ground invasion of Gaza because it might have to hand Gaza over to Palestinian Authority, an arrangement it does not favor. A preferred outcome would be an Egyptian role in Gaza, providing Israel with a real government with whom it could negotiate.

Building in Jerusalem: A Strategic Imperative

Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 190, December 5, 2012

Despite mounting international pressure, Israel must follow up on its recent declaration to build in and around Jerusalem, particularly in Area E1, which connects the capital to the settlement of Maaleh Adumim. Creating continuous Jewish settlement in that area is necessary to enable Israel to have secure access to the strategic Jordan Valley.

Operation Pillar of Defense: An Initial Strategic and Military Assessment

Dr. Eitan Shamir
Perspectives Papers No. 189, December 4, 2012

Israel’s achievements in Operation Pillar of Defense include its ability to surprise Hamas, kill its military leader, and destroy most of its strategic assets. The performance of the Iron Dome anti-missile system and Israel’s civilian defense also proved impressive. An important gain for Israel is a reduced fear of repercussions in the aftermath of an attack on Iran. The operation in Gaza also proved Israel’s determination to act forcefully in the post “Arab Spring” environment. However, the lack of a ground offensive allowed Hamas to craft a victory narrative and the potential to re-arm. The next round is only a matter of time.

The Buddhist-Muslim Violence in Myanmar: A Threat to Southeast Asia

Dr. Micha’el Tanchum
Perspectives Papers No. 188, November 28, 2012

The country of Myanmar recently embarked on a widely-hailed democratization process. Renewed violence between local Buddhists and Muslims, however, threatens the country’s advance and may thrust the region into turmoil. Myanmar’s policies towards its minority Rohingya Muslims have sparked a rise in Islamist agitation against Buddhists in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Morsi’s Dictatorship and the Gaza Ceasefire

Prof. Hillel Frisch
Perspectives Papers No. 187, November 27, 2012

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has proven himself to be a dictator in the footsteps of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak. He has consolidated his power by sacking the military leadership and by granting himself extensive powers over the judicial system. It is not coincidental that his most recent dictatorial decree (overriding the judiciary) was issued following his successful brokering of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Morsi seeks to further strengthen his control over Egypt while continuing to benefit from Western aid.

Operation Pillar of Defense: In Support of a Ground Offensive

Prof. Efraim Inbar and Dr. Max Singer
Perspectives Papers No. 186, November 19, 2012

Israel needs to send IDF ground forces into Gaza to destroy the military capabilities of Hamas and other Islamic terror groups. While Israel may pay a high diplomatic price for its actions, the longer it waits the greater the political obstacles will be to actions that limit future Palestinian and Arab attacks on Israel. If fears such as the changed political environment of the Middle East deter Israel from destroying Hamas’ military force now, the Arabs will only escalate their attacks on Israel. An immediate and strong Israeli response is necessary to ensure the Jewish state’s ability to stand against the rising tide of Islamist militancy.

Brothers in Arms: Would Hizballah and Hamas Join Iran in a War Against Israel?

Dr. Ehud Eilam
Perspectives Papers No. 185, October 23, 2012

There is a prevalent view that in the event of an Israeli strike on Iran, Tehran’s proxies in Lebanon and Gaza – Hizballah and Hamas – would join in retaliation against Israel. A more likely scenario, however, is that those groups’ participation will be limited at best. Hizballah must consider its crumbling support from the weakened Assad regime, as well as popular opposition within Lebanon to its role in military conflict with Israel. Hamas’ recent feud with Iran over the group’s lack of support for the Assad regime could render it reluctant to assist in the fight against Israel.

Sunni Sectarianism and the Re-emergence of Jihadism in Indonesia

Dr. Micha’el Tanchum
Perspectives Papers No. 184, October 16, 2012

Events in Indonesia during September 2012 raised concerns that the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation may be taking a turn toward hardline Islamism. A major government official openly called for the elimination of Shiite Islam from Indonesia, and the Buddhist minority was the target of a foiled bombing. These developments may cause the future of Indonesia’s tolerant Islam to be reassessed.

The Ostrich Syndrome: Understanding the World’s Reluctance to Take Action Against Iran

Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 183, October 11, 2012

The international community appears unlikely to take military action against the Iranian nuclear weapons program because of the “Ostrich Syndrome” – a reluctance to deal with difficult problems and a preference to ignore them. The historical record shows that failure to respond to Iranian actions only leads to more aggression from Iran, and inaction in the current situation will lead to dangerous global repercussions.

Will Egypt Go Nuclear?

Dr. Shaul Shay
Perspectives Papers No. 182, September 13, 2012

Though Egypt does not currently have a nuclear energy program, that reality could soon change. Newly elected President Mohammed Mursi made clear that Egypt wishes to create a civilian nuclear energy program. Also of concern are statements made by leaders of Mursi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, who call for Egypt to pursue a nuclear weapons program. It is presently unclear whether the new president is sincere about his desire for peaceful nuclear energy or if he concurs with his ideological brethren.

Mixed Messages: The US-Israel Dispute Over Iran

Prof. Eytan Gilboa
Perspectives Papers No. 181, September 10, 2012

The recent public dispute between American President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has created confusion over the position of the US regarding military action against Iran. This is the wrong way to bring about an end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It is imperative that the public sparring come to an end and the lines of communication between the two leaders be clearer. The US ought to consider equipping Israel with enhanced military resources that would allow Israel to confront Iran at a later date, giving Western allies more time to pressure the Iranian regime.

Is There a Future for Israel’s National Security Council?

Prof. Uzi Arad and Amos Harel
Perspectives Papers No. 180, September 5, 2012

The establishment of a properly-functioning and effective National Security Council (NSC) as a central function within the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has been attempted for more than forty years, but only recently implemented. Under Prof. Uzi Arad, the NSC became a central player in the Netanyahu administration, growing significantly in size, professionalism, and areas of responsibility, and working in close proximity to the prime minister. Its main achievement is the quiet integration of foreign affairs, defense, and intelligence inputs for the prime minister and the other top decision-makers in the government. At the same time, NSC effectiveness remains hampered by occasional turf battles over certain responsibilities between the NSC and the defense minister, the IDF, and the intelligence services.

A Strategy for Making Peace with the Palestinians

Dr. Max Singer
Perspectives Papers No. 179, September 4, 2012

Israel will not be able to make peace with the Palestinians until the Palestinian community gives up its goal of destroying Israel. The Palestinians will abandon this goal only when they are convinced that there is no way they can succeed. Israel’s goal must be peace, and the most important ways to work towards peace are: resettling the Palestinian “refugees” outside of Israel; encouraging reform in the Palestinian education system and speaking the truth to the Palestinians regarding the Jews’ ancient roots in the land; reducing the ability of Palestinian leaders to personally benefit from the conflict; and encouraging free debate in Palestinian society.

The Fading Left and Israel’s Flourishing Democracy

Shmuel Sandler and Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 178, August 12, 2012

Many of Israel’s detractors on the left argue that Israel’s democracy is in a state of decline. A closer look shows that Israeli democracy is thriving. A gradual decentralization of power since Likud’s rise to the top in 1977 has given more political groups a chance to share power. The judicial system is strong and independent, and fearless in its prosecution of senior politicians. The end of party-affiliated journalism has allowed greater criticism of the government by the Israeli media. Minority groups enjoy greater rights than ever before. The army has become more professional and plays a smaller role in decision-making than before. When taking these factors into consideration, it is clear that Israeli democracy is doing quite well, despite the assertions of the fading left.

The Fate of Syria’s Chemical and Biological Weapons

Dr. Dany Shoham
Perspectives Papers No. 177, August 6, 2012

Israel has good reason to fear that Syria’s chemical and biological weapons arsenal could fall into the wrong hands – to terrorist elements within Syria, to an even more hostile Syrian regime, or to Hizballah and Iran. Yet Israel and the West hold limited options. Bombarding these arms stockpiles could result in significant environmental pollution. The best scenario is an agreed regime transformation, with secured transposition of the arsenal to a stable, sane central authority.

The Levy Report: Reinvigorating the Discussion of Israel’s Rights in the West Bank

Avi Bell
Perspectives Papers No. 176, July 31, 2012

The Commission to Examine the Status of Building in Judea and Samaria (the “Levy report”) has drawn a flurry of overwrought criticism due to its inclusion of a section concerning the lawfulness of Israeli settlement activity. But the report’s argument is surprisingly modest in substance; it does little more than endorse the traditional official Israeli position that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply de jure to the West Bank, and in any event does not bar Israeli settlements. Some have argued that the Levy report is foolish politically, arguing that by asserting its legal rights, Israel will signal that it is unwilling to entertain “land for peace” compromises. This seems a doubtful thesis. Israel has asserted its legal rights to Jerusalem for decades, but yet repeatedly offered compromises on its rights in the city. What the Levy report has done is to reinvigorate the discussion of the legitimacy of Israel’s position under international law after many years in which Israel has been silent about its legal rights. That is a welcome development.

Iran's New Strategic Horizons at Sea

Dr. Shaul Shay
Perspectives Papers No. 175, July 26, 2012

As tensions rise in the Middle East over Iran's nuclear weapons program, Tehran has upped the ante by developing an aggressive new naval strategy and sent warships to the Mediterranean for the first time since 1979. In addition, it threatens to block key straits in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf that would cripple Western shipping routes. Such bold moves by the Iranian navy are clearly meant to intimidate the West from continuing its pressure on Tehran regarding the nuclear issue, to show that Iran is able to foment trouble in the region, to aid its allies and counter the American naval presence, and to encroach with physical proximity upon Israel.

Invisible Red Line: The Futility of Trying to Detect an Iranian Order to Build the Bomb

Dr. Dany Shoham and Dr. Raphael Ofek
Perspectives Papers No. 174, July 19, 2012

At what point will Iran's drive for nuclear weapons necessitate Western military action against it? What would constitute the proverbial crossing of a "red line"? Would it be an authoritative order by Iranian leadership to actually assemble a bomb, or is it when Iran enters a "zone of immunity" from military strike? This paper argues that it is practically impossible and very unlikely that Western intelligence could detect an unambiguous order from Iranian leadership to build a nuclear bomb, making this an unwise "red line" marker. Instead, the threshold at which no practical surgical operation can deprive Iran of its nuclear capability is a much more relevant "red line" on Iran’s path to nuclearization.

"Iron Dome" vs. Grad Rockets: A Dress Rehearsal for an All-Out War?

Uzi Rubin
Perspectives Papers No. 173, July 3, 2012

In March 2012, the Palestinians in Gaza challenged Israel with a barrage of rocket fire more sustained and intense than any round of rocket attack since Operation "Cast Lead" of 2008-2009. Over the course of several days, Palestinian militias fired more than 160 rockets, hitting targets further within Israel than ever before. Israel's response included the deployment of three fully operational "Iron Dome" missile defense batteries. The defensive system had also been deployed during three previous rounds of Palestinian attack (in April, August and October 2011).

The Cold War between Turkey and Iran

Dr. Can Kasapoglu
Perspectives Papers No. 172, June 11, 2012

With American clout in the Middle East on the decline, the historic power struggle between Turkey and Iran has intensified, each attempting to fill the vacuum in the region by expanding its influence. Syria and Iraq have become the battlefields between Turkey and Iran. In Syria, a proxy war is underway, with Iran supplying weapons to its Alawite client and Turkey actively arming the opposition. In Iraq, Turkey and Iran vie for political influence along Sunni-Shiite fault lines. In neither arena is Turkey seen as the regional leader it aspires to be.

הקרב בין "כיפת ברזל" לבין ה"גראד": חזרה כללית לקראת מלחמה כוללת?

מאת עוזי רובין
Perspectives Papers No. 171, April 19, 2012

מאמר זה מנתח את הקרב שבין הרקטות מעזה לבין מערכת "כיפת ברזל", מעריך את המהלכים הפלסטינאים לנטרול מערכת ההגנה הישראלית, ואת ההשלכות של ההצלחה על יכולתה של ישראל לעמוד במתקפת טילים איראנית. המסקנה היא כי ההצלחה של "כיפת ברזל" מוכיחה אמנם את הישימות הטכנית ואת המשמעויות האסטרטגיות של היכולת להציב הגנה משמעותית על מרכזי אוכלוסייה ומתקני תשתית, אך אין להשליך מכך כי מדינת ישראל תוכל בעת הזו להגן על אוכלוסייתה בפני תקיפת טילים כוללת ממדינות העימות.

Is Turkey Getting Dragged into War with Syria?

Dr. Can Kasapoğlu
Perspectives Papers No. 170, April 18, 2012

Since the first wave of uprisings in Syria, Turkey has gradually hardened its stance toward the Baathist dictatorship. However, as Assad continues to weather the rebellion while strengthening ties with the PKK terrorist group and with a nuclearizing Iran, Ankara fears a reemergence of the threatening strategic landscape of the 1990s. As the turmoil in Syria continues and the security environment of Turkey worsens, two factors might lead to unilateral Turkish military intervention in Syria: a refugee crisis that forces Ankara to establish a buffer zone within Syrian territory, and/or defensive military measures needed to stop PKK terrorism.

After Toulouse: Combatting Anti-Semitism in France

Dr. Tsilla Hershco
Perspectives Papers No. 169, April 4, 2012

France's formal, coercive, educational, and correctional measures against anti-Semitism should not be underestimated, and have largely borne fruit. Yet the country's unbalanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, as reflected occasionally in government condemnations of Israel's legitimate measures of self-defense and in media coverage of the conflict, has created an altogether too comfortable environment for the resurgence of anti-Semitic violence in France, including the recent attack in Toulouse.

India Defies Oil Sanctions on Iran

Prof. P. R. Kumaraswamy
Perspectives Papers No. 168, March 19, 2012

India’s position on oil sanctions against Iran has become a riddle that defies conventional explanations. The odds are heavily loaded against its ability to maintain energy ties with the Islamic Republic, yet there are signs that India seeks to improve economic ties with Tehran. The explanation for this is that American inability to provide effective leadership in the Middle East has resulted in India’s readiness to defy the oil sanctions against Iran. India seeks to assert an independent foreign policy.

The Opportunity in Gaza

Prof. Efraim Inbar and Dr. Max Singer
Perspectives Papers No. 167, March 15, 2012

Israel has to respond to the attacks from Gaza with a large-scale military operation. If no such action is taken, the attacks against Israel will surely increase. Gaza is small enough so that Israel can destroy most of the terrorist infrastructure and the leadership of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other organizations. The goal would be to restore deterrence and to signal Israeli determination to battle the rising Islamist forces in the region. By acting now in Gaza, Israel will also greatly reduce the missile retaliation it would face if and when it strikes Iran’s nuclear facilities. Political conditions seem appropriate as Hamas is divided, most of the Arab world is busy with pressing domestic issues, and the US is in the middle of an election campaign.

Stopping Iran: Still Too Much Noise and Too Little Action

Prof. Eytan Gilboa
Perspectives Papers No. 166, February 21, 2012

There seems to be a lot of psychological warfare at play in the approach of international leaders to the Iranian nuclear conundrum. Public statements of various tones and intensity have of late been made by Israeli, American, European, and even Iranian policymakers. Yet, mixed messages are continuously being broadcast and international powers remain disunited on how to halt Iran’s nuclear program. It is unsurprising then that all of this “talk” has led to no action.

The Republican Primaries and the Israel Acid Test

Dr. Jonathan Rynhold
Perspectives Papers No. 165, February 15, 2012

Changing security conditions demand a revaluation of the strategic and economic roles of the Israeli defense industry. In its earlier years, the Israeli government sought to achieve self-sufficiency and reduced reliance on defense imports. Today, however, the Israeli defense industry is largely focused on arms exports to the global market, with insufficient attention paid to the IDF’s military technology and equipment needs. It is time for a new balance between boosting private enterprise (arms sales abroad) and ensuring Israel’s military edge (supply of the IDF).

Strategic and Economic Roles of Defense Industries in Israel

Dr. Yaacov Lifshitz
Perspectives Papers No. 164, February 13, 2012

Changing security conditions demand a revaluation of the strategic and economic roles of the Israeli defense industry. In its earlier years, the Israeli government sought to achieve self-sufficiency and reduced reliance on defense imports. Today, however, the Israeli defense industry is largely focused on arms exports to the global market, with insufficient attention paid to the IDF’s military technology and equipment needs. It is time for a new balance between boosting private enterprise (arms sales abroad) and ensuring Israel’s military edge (supply of the IDF).

Might the Turkish Military Intervene in Syria?

Dr. Can Kasapoğlu
Perspectives Papers No. 163, February 8, 2012

With Russia and China vetoing a UN Security Council resolution seeking an end to the violent repression in Syria, there are almost no options left for a negotiated end to the crisis. This may bring Turkey to consider military intervention in Syria in coordination with the US and Saudi Arabia.

The Amman Talks: Another Exercise in Futile Diplomacy

Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 162, February 1, 2012

The recent Israeli-Palestinian "pre-negotiations" in Amman mark another ineffectual endeavor to bridge the wide gap between the two sides. The Palestinians were quick to accuse the Israelis of bad faith, while still refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish state. Furthermore, as Hamas becomes emboldened by the "Islamic Winter," Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation seems impossible.

Missile Warfare: A Realistic Assessment

Haim Rosenberg
Perspectives Papers No. 161, January 25, 2012

The threat to Israel of missile warfare is somewhat exaggerated and public discourse on this issue should reflect realistic assessments. At this stage, missile attacks would be able to inflict only limited physical damage on Israel. Moreover, future military campaigns are unlikely to be limited to missile attacks – thus, the argument “land and type of terrain are unimportant in the missile age” is a dangerous fallacy.

The Iranian Nuclear Threat to Israel: Legal Remedies and Remaining Options

Dr. Louis René Beres
Perspectives Papers No. 160, January 16, 2012

Israel should not expect stable coexistence with a nuclear Iran. Instead, it must enhance active defense, improve nuclear deterrence and target selected Iranian infrastructures. As Tehran edges closer to gaining nuclear capabilities, however, Israeli preemption tactics are becoming far more limited.

Strategic Realignment and Energy Security in the Eastern Mediterranean

Dr. Alexander Murinson
Perspectives Papers No. 159, January 9, 2012

Since the cooling of relations with Ankara in 2010, Israel has sought alternative allies in the Mediterranean region, courting Greece and Cyprus. An economic and security partnership between the three non-Muslim countries in the eastern Mediterranean benefits all. The most urgent strategic issue that unites them, however, is their need for energy security. The recent discovery of substantial natural gas fields in the Israeli and Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) challenge Turkey’s claim as the central energy hub for Europe. Turkey is employing threatening rhetoric as well as its navy to deter and harass Cypriot and Israeli exploration efforts. Greece, Israel and Cyprus should increase their strategic cooperation in order to contain such Turkish hostility.

The Palestinians are Part of the Old Arab Order

Prof. Hillel Frisch
Perspectives Papers No. 158, January 5, 2012

The Palestinians are part of the old Arab order because time and time again they have aligned themselves with the worst dictators of the Arab world. Their own governments in the West Bank and Gaza are cut from the same cloth as the regimes of the old Arab order; they are one-party police-states where the opposition and the media are suppressed. They demand the right to self-determination for themselves but deny it to others. They are also part of the old Arab order of terrorism.

Palestinians: Invented People

Prof. Michael Curtis
Perspectives Papers No. 157, December 20, 2011

The concept of Palestinian identity and nationalism is a recent invention. Both historically and in contemporary times, the Arabs living in the area now known as Palestine were regarded both by outsiders and by their own spokespeople as members of the greater Arab population, without a separate or distinct identity. Today, however, it is clear that Palestinian nationalism has emerged and become a political factor.

The Threats in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 156, November 24, 2011

The turmoil in the Arab world is changing the strategic landscape around Israel. However, one area that has received little attention is the eastern Mediterranean basin, where elements of radical Islam could gain control. In this region, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey display Islamist tendencies, leaving Israel and Greece as the only Western allies.

Egypt’s Constitutional Crisis: The Military versus the Islamists

Prof. Hillel Frisch
Perspectives Papers No. 155, November 16, 2011

Controversy has arisen over who will shape Egypt's constitution – the Islamists or the military-backed secularists. While the former seemingly holds the majority public vote, the latter holds the fire power, thus evening out the political battlefield. But if the chasm between these two opposing camps continues to widen, as may occur due to the recent controversy, civil war could erupt.

The IAEA Report on Tehran’s Nuclear Program: It's Time to Hit Iran

Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 154, November 10, 2011

The recent IAEA report reaffirms suspicions that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. While this might generate an additional round of sanctions on Iran, these are unlikely to bring about change in Iran's nuclear policy. Israel will soon face a difficult decision on whether to deal a military blow to Iran's nuclear installations – unless the US lives up to its superpower responsibilities. A US strike on Iranian nuclear infrastructure is not only necessary, it is also the only course of action that can prevent the impending American retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan from signaling the denouement of US clout in the Middle East.

Saudi Succession and Stability

Dr. Joshua Teitelbaum
Perspectives Papers No. 153, November 1, 2011

The smooth succession of royals is crucial to the stability of the Saudi oil state. Ever since King Faysal, the Saudi monarchy has alternated branches of the family on the throne in order to maintain a degree of balance between competing royal family factions. This principle is likely to hold true today too, as the kingdom navigates its way from the rule of King Abdullah and the now-deceased Crown Prince Sultan to the rule of Crown Prince and next king, Nayif. The process of balancing and satisfying royal factions depends on patience and conservatism within royal circles. It also requires quiet in the streets of Riyadh and Jedda – and thus far, there are no signs of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ spreading to Saudi Arabia.

Why the Schalit Decision Makes Military Sense

Prof. Stuart A. Cohen
Perspectives Papers No. 152, October 27, 2011

The Schalit prisoner exchange was a rational and sensible recognition of the need to reaffirm society's commitment to the welfare of its soldiers. The injunction to “leave no man behind,” which has been internalized by all Western armies, reinforces the mutual commitment that soldiers and their governments make to one another. The obligation of the state is even more pronounced in Israel’s case, as the IDF is a conscript army, in which far from all draft-age youngsters in fact serve.

מערכת ההגנה האקטיבית "כיפת ברזל" בפעולה: הערכה ראשונית

עוזי רובין
Perspectives Papers No. 151, October 31, 2011

מערכת ההגנה האקטיבית נגד רקטות "כיפת ברזל" הופעלה לראשונה באפריל 2011 בהצלחה טכנית ברורה. רק לאחר ההצלחה הראשונה של "כיפת ברזל" החלו בכירי מערכת הביטחון לחשוף את המניעים הבסיסיים, את התכליות האסטרטגיות ואת מגבלות המערכת. כמו כן, הורחב הויכוח הציבורי שהתמקד באיום על ישובי שדרות ומעטפת עזה, לדיון באיום אפשרי עתידי ובהגנה מטווח רקטות ארוך יותר על ערים גדולות יותר בעומקה של מדינת ישראל. ניתן להסיק שמערכת כיפת ברזל הניבה את התפוקות האסטרטגיות שהותוו: שמירה על חיים ועל נכסים כלכליים במדינה, מתן דרגת חופש לדרג המדיני, והענקת מרווח נשימה לצה"ל להתכונן למהלך התקפי על-ידי הגבלת הלחימה עם חמאס בעזה.

Iron Dome in Action: A Preliminary Evaluation

Uzi Rubin
Perspectives Papers No. 151, October 24, 2011

The "Iron Dome" anti-rocket active defense system was first used by Israel in April 2011 with great technical success. This prompted defense officials to finally make public the strategic objectives and limitations of the system, which, until then, had not been divulged. It also expanded the public debate on missile defense from one that focused on the threat to Sderot and the Gaza envelope communities to a debate that included the threat of longer range rockets on larger cities deep within Israel. It can reasonably be concluded that the Iron Dome system has succeeded in saving lives and reducing damages, thus providing more flexibility to the political leadership for containing the fighting with the Hamas government in Gaza.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back:
Women's Suffrage in Saudi Arabia

Dr. Joshua Teitelbaum
Perspectives Papers No. 150, October 9, 2011

Saudi Arabia has not been immune to the demands for change sweeping the Arab world. On September 25, 2011, King Abdullah announced that within the next few years women would be appointed to the Consultative Council and be allowed to vote and run for the municipal councils. But is this a significant advancement for Saudi women's rights, or just another instance of the kingdom’s "two steps forward, one step back" reform policy?

Needed: A Leader in the White House

Prof. Eytan Gilboa
Perspectives Papers No. 149, September 13, 2011

The cornerstones of US President Barack Obama's Middle East strategy have collapsed. Turkey, once an exemplar moderate Islamic democracy, and Egypt, once an exemplar stable and moderate Arab power, have become increasingly unreliable allies. The lack of leadership and clear policy principles evinced by the Obama White House have severely weakened America's position in the Middle East, leaving a void to be filled by hostile regional powers such as Iran.

After September Comes October

Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 148, August 23, 2011

The decision to cut off negotiations with Israel and go to the UN in September to bid for state recognition is not going to bring the Palestinians closer to the establishment of a state. The UN is a morally bankrupt institution, totally ineffective in curing the dysfunctional Palestinian national movement. Israel, however, is united and strong enough to meet the challenge of Palestinian unilateralism.

Empty Words: Saudi Blustering and US-Saudi Realities

Dr. Joshua Teitelbaum
Perspectives Papers No. 147, July 17, 2011

The Saudis are truly angry at the Obama Administration, and are threatening to turn away from their alliance with Washington. But the Saudis are all bark and no bite. Despite occasional public “outrage” from Saudi officials about US policy regarding the Arab unrest, Israel, Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan, Riyadh and Washington are still very distant from the parting of the ways threatened by some Saudi officials.

Get Tough with Turkey

Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 146, July 14, 2011

Turkish demands are unreasonable and an apology will not change the anti-Israeli policy of an increasingly authoritarian and Islamist Turkey. Israel’s reluctance to criticize Erdogan’s government is construed as weakness and Jerusalem should take off its gloves in dealing with Ankara.

Halting the Egyptian Drift

Jagdish N. Singh
Perspectives Papers No. 145, June 19, 2011

Developments in post-Mubarak Egypt are beginning to mirror the process of Islamization that took place in Iran following the 1979 revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood is gaining support, while progressive forces – those that hoped to bring democracy to Egypt – have fallen silent. It may be up to a third party to prevent Egypt from becoming the next Iran.

Gulf Monarchies Confront the “Arab Spring’”

Dr. Joshua Teitelbaum
Perspectives Papers No. 144, June 12, 2011

The events of the “Arab Spring” are still unfolding, but for the monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), this “spring” offers little promise. The threat emanating from Iran as well as the lack of confidence in US support gives the Gulf states much to fear and has imbued the GCC with newfound unity and purpose. Recent bids by Morocco and Jordan for membership in what has been, until now, a Persian Gulf organization signifies that the conservative monarchies of the Middle East are determined to protect the status quo in the face of shifting alliances brought about by regional developments.

Netanyahu Turns Centrist and Triumphs

Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Papers No. 143, May 30, 2011

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to Washington with a centrist message, eliciting great support for the Israeli position both by the US Congress and by the Israeli public. He parried the attempts of President Obama to extract additional concessions and signaled to the world, specifically to the Palestinians, that their expectations about the shape of a future agreement must be calibrated in accordance with the wishes of the Israeli electorate. As a result of this visit, Netanyahu has strengthened his political positioning and garnered popularity at home.

Towards Responsible Sovereignty

Dr. Amichai Magen
Perspectives Papers No. 142, May 29, 2011

The rise of a globalized Islamist insurgency and armed non-state actors – some of whom, like Hizballah, command more fire power than most national governments – represents a real challenge to the international system. Specifically, the use of proxies who fight from within the territory of weak or failed states is pernicious in that it defies the conventional categorization of armed conflict, blurs state responsibility for armed attacks, and undermines deterrence. This reflects a deeper crisis – a crisis of sovereignty.

New BESA Center Study Published
Israel Is Not Isolated (English) (Hebrew)

by Prof. Efraim Inbar
BESA Center Director Prof. Efraim Inbar argues that, despite a perception to the contrary, Israel is not isolated in the international community. Since the end of the Cold War Israel has developed strong ties with most United Nations member states. Relations with many former Soviet states and Muslim states have seen drastic improvement in the last several decades. Attempts to harm Israel through the BDS (boycotts, divestments, sanctions) campaign have failed. Israel’s strategic relationship with the United States should be further developed in order to ensure Israel’s important standing in the international community.

BESA Center Lecture Summary
The United States and Iran

by Ambassador Thomas Pickering
The best course of action in halting the Iranian nuclear program is a combination of Western sanctions and military threats. Military force should be the last resort taken by the US, and probably not at all. Though a “Grand Bargain” between the US and Iran will not happen, it is imperative that both sides continue negotiating in the hopes that there will be a breakthrough.

Conference: Wednesday, 21 November 2012
US Foreign Policy after the Elections (English) (Hebrew)

Senate Hall, Feldman Conference Center, Building 301, Bar-Ilan University

New BESA Center Study Published
A Strategy for Peace with the Palestinians

This study by BESA Center senior research associate Dr. Max Singer suggests a new strategy for attaining a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This approach highlights the Palestinians’ refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state and reluctance to drop their armed and ideological opposition to Israel’s existence. The author proposes a plan that the global community can adopt in order to help bring peace between the two parties, involving active opposition to Palestinian denial of Israel’s connection to the land; support for Israel’s legitimacy; resettling Palestinian refugees outside of Israel; a modification of aid programs to reduce Palestinian use of foreign money to teach hate and support terror; and encouragement of free speech and discussion in Palestinian society. The author argues that peace is unlikely to ensue unless these matters are dealt with now.

New BESA Center Study Published
Turkish Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century

This study by Alexander Murinson explores the new foreign policy path undertaken by Turkey’s leadership, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP party. Inspired by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s Strategic Depth doctrine, Turkey has pursued a more active role in the Middle East and surrounding region. Bucking the trend of Turkey’s secular Kemalist legacy, the government seeks to revive the glory of the Ottoman Empire and establish itself as a global power. The study examines the reasons behind Turkey’s shift in policy, discusses Turkey’s role in the “Arab Spring,” and assesses regional and global ramifications.

New BESA Center Study Published
India's Economic Relations with Israel and the Arabs

This important new study by Dr. Gil Feiler, discusses the different aspects of the bilateral relationship that India shares with both Israel and the Arab countries. It explores how India, the world's second most-populous country, fits into the puzzle of the ever-changing Middle East, especially in light of the recent "Arab Spring." The study also suggests that India is searching for full economic and political ties with both Israel and the Arabs, independent of their relationship with each other.

Elliot Abrams, Efraim Inbar and Abraham Foxman at the conference

Conference on U.S.-Israel Relations Emphasizes Tactical and Strategic Coordination

Poll of Israeli public shows appreciation for the U.S., but mixed views of Obama and Romney. Many Israelis dissatisfied with the Obama administration’s policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on Iran.

Full poll results available here: Hebrew and English.
Opening address of ADL director Abraham Foxman
Press articles: Israel Hayom , Jerusalem Post

Also available in Hebrew

New Study Published
An Integrated Imperative: Attack Iran and Launch a Regional Peace Initiative
by Prof. Yehezkel Dror

Professor Yehezkel Dror, the elder statesman of Israel's strategic community, argues in this provocative and comprehensive new study (May 2012) that Israel must destroy Iranian nuclear facilities and simultaneously launch a comprehensive Middle East peace initiative. “Israel cannot leave the future of its national security to decision by others. If Iranian advances towards nuclear weapon are not halted, Israel will have to attack Iranian nuclear facilities while they are still vulnerable. A violent Iranian reaction by Iran is to be expected, but its maximum costs to Israel, the US and all of the Middle East are much smaller than those stemming from Iranian possession of nuclear weapons. But in order to bring about essential measures preventing the renewal of Iran’s nuclear efforts and change the trajectory of the Middle East as a whole for the better, Israel must combine an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities with presentation of a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement, relying in part on the Arab-Islamic Peace Initiative of ten years ago. Integrating an attack with a broad, multi-dimensional, credible peace initiative will multiply the benefits of both, whether or not there is an immediate favorable response from Arab states.”

See also
'If you make war, follow with comprehensive peace' (Jerusalem Post)
‘Adopt a tough stance’ (Maariv-NRG, Hebrew)
A double-barreled solution to Iran(Haaretz)

(From left) Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum, Efraim Inbar, Ze'ev Maghen and Eytan Gilboa .“We're realists, not just conservatives.” (Photo credit: KOKO)

Five BESA Center experts weigh in on Iran
By Shlomo Cesana, Israel Hayom, April 12, 2012

Israel Hayom presents a special roundtable discussion in which five Israeli experts in Middle Eastern and international politics, from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, discuss the Iranian nuclear threat, whether Israel can trust the U.S. and whether the era of American deterrence in the region is over.

Prof. Haim Gvirtzman

New BESA Center Study Published
The Israeli-Palestinian Water Conflict: An Israeli Perspective

This important new study by Prof. Haim Gvirtzman, based on previously classified data, refutes Palestinian claims that Israel is denying West Bank Palestinians water rights negotiated under the Oslo Accords. The study also proposes a practical plan for Israeli-Palestinian water sharing in the future.

Danny Yatom

BESA Center Experts Say:
Iran is an Intolerable Threat; Arab Spring Not Resulting in Democracy

Summary of Remarks at the BESA Center Conference on
"Israeli Security in a New Regional Environment"

(From left) Uzi Dayan, Shmuel Sandler, Jonathan Rynhold, Efraim Inbar & Danny Yatom

New Mideast Security and Policy Study:
The Missile Threat from Gaza: From Nuisance to Strategic Threat

By Uzi Rubin (Hebrew)

See also:
"The Exposed Skies Policy: Uzi Rubin Warns that in the Next War the Entire Country will be Hit with Missiles," Yediot Ahronot, 18.02.11 Hebrew English

"The Exposed Home Front: How the State of Israel was left Without any Missile Defense," Maariv, 14.01.11 Hebrew English

Latest Publications

Strategic and Economic Roles of Defense Industries in Israel
December 2011
By Yaacov Lifshitz

The Missile Threat from Gaza: From Nuisance to Strategic Threat
December 2011
By Uzi Rubin

Israeli Control of the Golan Heights: High Strategic and Moral Ground for Israel
September 2011
By Efraim Inbar

Regional Alternatives to the Two-State Solution
Giora Eiland
BESA Memorandum No.4 English version
BESA Memorandum No.4 Hebrew version

Prime Minister Netanyahu's
Begin-Sadat Center
Diplomatic Policy Speech

Delivered on June 14, 2009 at the BESA Center
Original speech text in Hebrew
Speech text, English translation


The Armageddon Scenario: Israel and the Threat of Nuclear Terrorism
Chuck Freilich
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 84
April 2010

Political-Security Statecraft for Israel, A Memorandum for Policymakers (Hebrew)
Prof. Yehezkel Dror
Memorandum No. 3
June 2009

Netanyahu Has Become Mainstream Israel
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Paper No. 83
June 2009

Too Clever by Half? The Problematics of Demilitarization and Other Shadows in Prime Minister Netanyahu's BESA Center Speech
Prof. Stuart Cohen
Perspectives Paper No. 81
June 2009

Netanyahu's Begin-Sadat Center Speech: An Attempt at Consensus Diplomacy
Dr. Jonathan Rynhold
Perspectives Paper No. 80
June 2009

Israel's Cooperation in Space with Other Countries (Hebrew)
Col. (res.) Aby Har-Evan
Memorandum No. 2
May 2009

The Decline of the Israeli Labor Party
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspectives Paper No. 70
February 2009

An Active Defense against Rockets and Missiles: The Lessons of Operation Cast Lead and the 2006 Lebanon War (Hebrew and English)
Uzi Rubin
Perspectives Paper No. 69
February 2009

The Futility of Operation Cast Lead
Prof. Stuart Cohen
Perspectives Paper No. 68
February 2009

Israel in 2009: A One-Block State of the Right
Prof. Hillel Frisch
Perspectives Paper No. 67
February 2009

The Rocket Campaign against Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War
Uzi Rubin
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 71
June 2007


Is Gaza Occupied? Redefining the Legal Status of Gaza
Elizabeth Samson
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 83
January 2010

Is Mahmoud Abbas Becoming Chairman Arafat?
Prof. Hillel Frisch
Perspective Paper No. 95
November 2009

The Fatah Conference: Finally an Abbas Victory
Prof. Hillel Frisch
Perspective Paper No. 90
August 2009

The Lone Terrorist
Yoaz Hendel
Perspective Paper No. 86
July 2009

Olmert's Palestinian Failures
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspective Paper No. 74
March 2009

Egypt Is Not Going to Stop the Smuggling into Gaza
Efraim Inbar and Mordechai Kedar
Perspective Paper No. 60
January 2009

Hamas: A Case of Strategic Suicide
Hillel Frisch
Perspective Paper No. 55
January 2009

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Regional Alternatives to the Two-State Solution
Gen. Giora Eiland
BESA Memorandum No. 4 English version
BESA Memorandum No. 4 Hebrew version
January 2010

The Rise and Demise of the Two-State Paradigm
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Mideast Security and Policy Studies, No. 79
January 2009 (Hebrew)
April 2009 (English)

The Need for a Decisive Israeli Victory Over Hamas
Hillel Frisch
Perspective No. 57
January 2009

Has the IDF Earned the Support of the Israeli Public?
An Interim Assessment of the IDF's Performance in Operation Cast Lead

Stuart A. Cohen
Perspective Paper No. 54
January 2009

Israel's Operation Against Hamas in Gaza: The Need for Realistic Goals
Efraim Inbar
Perspective Paper No. 53
January 2009

The Failure of the Oslo Process: Inherently Flawed or Flawed Implementation?
Jonathan Rynhold
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 76
March 2008

(The) Fence or Offense? Testing the Effectiveness of "The Fence" in Judea and Samaria
Hillel Frisch
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 75
October 2007


France and the Crisis in Lebanon: July 2006-2008 (Hebrew)
Dr. Tsilla Hershco
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 81
August 2009

Elections in Lebanon: A Hizballah Takeover?
Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Perspective No. 76
May 2009

Instability in the Egypt-Israel Relationship (Hebrew)
Dr. Ehud Eilam
Memorandum No. 1
February 2009

The Rocket Campaign against Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War
Uzi Rubin
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 71
June 2007


An Open Letter to My Turkish Friends
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspective No. 92
October 2009

The Political Logic of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's Attacks on Israel
Gil Feiler and Edo Harel
Perspective No. 76
February 2009

Israel's New Strategic Partners: Turkey and India (Hebrew)
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 77
July 2008


Apprehensive Allies: India and Israel in the Obama Era
S. Samuel C. Rajiv
Perspective No. 89
August 2009

Israel's New Strategic Partners: Turkey and India (Hebrew)
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 77
July 2008


Ending an Iranian-Israeli War (Hebrew)
Dr. Moshe Vered
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 82
September 2009

Mideast "Experts" Got Iraq Wrong
Dr. Max Singer
Perspective No. 88
August 2009

O Ali, O Husayn! An Ancient Shi'ite Paradigm Haunts Today's Islamic Republic
Prof. Ze'ev Maghen
Perspective No. 85
July 2009

President Obama's Cairo Speech: The Question Left Unanswered - Iran
Dr. Jonathan Rynhold
Perspective No. 79
June 2009

From Omnipotence to Impotence: A Shift in the Iranian Portrayal of the "Zionist Regime"
Prof. Ze'ev Maghen
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 78
August 2008


Mitchell's Mission Impossible
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspective No. 93
October 2009

Obama and the Middle East
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspective No. 91
September 2009

A Growing Divergence Between Jerusalem and Washington?
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Perspective No. 75
May 2009

Obama and Netanyahu: Idealism vs. Pragmatism
Prof. Eytan Gilboa
Perspective No. 72
March 2009

Obama and the Muslim Cold War
Prof. Hillel Frisch
Perspective No. 62
January 2009


France and the Crisis in Lebanon: July 2006-July 2008 (Hebrew)
Dr. Tsilla Hershco
Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 81
August 2009

Is It Time to Update the 1985 US-Israel Free Trade Agreement, in View of EU Neighborhood Policy?
Prof. Arie Reich
Perspective Paper No. 84
June 2009

Netanyahu and Sarkozy: Personal Chemistry versus Political Disagreements
Dr. Tsilla Hershco
Perspective Paper No. 82
June 2009

Israel and NATO: A Good Idea Whose Time Will Never Come
Dr. Josef Joffe
Perspective Paper No. 77
May 2009

Europe May Yet Long For George W. Bush
Rafael L. Bardají
Perspective Paper No. 59
January 2009

BESA News Bulletins
The End of Syria?
Read in the January 2013 issue of the BESA Bulletin

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Contact details of Mideast experts at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies, for the media
Photo Gallery
Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's national security advisor, spoke at a January 2010 BESA Center conference on his new study, Regional Alternatives to the Two-State Solution. The conference drew hundreds of diplomats and senior Israeli officials.

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Call for Papers
Europe and International Security

The BESA Center's Madame Madeleine Feher European Scholar-in-Residence Program invites European scholars to submit an original paper on issues related to Europe and international security. The papers will be published by the BESA Center, and the author invited to lecture in Israel. Submit proposals and curriculum vitae to