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The Norwegian Elections, Israel, and the Jews

October 19, 2017,

Developments in Norway are rarely analyzed abroad – not even in Israel, despite the fact that Norway was the most problematic country in Europe for Israel from 2005-13. Under governments led by Labor Party leader Jens Stoltenberg, anti-Israel attitudes flourished. There were also extreme expressions of anti-Semitism, including shots fired by a Muslim at Oslo’s only synagogue. In 2012, the well-known Norwegian author Hanne Nabintu Herland called Norway the “most anti-Semitic country.” The recent surprise victory of Prime Minister Erna Solberg, the Conservative leader, could alter this dynamic for the better.more

Russia’s Air Defenses in Syria: More Politics than Punch

October 18, 2017,

As a result of Moscow’s geopolitical considerations in Syria, chief among them the desire to avoid direct confrontation with the US and Israel, Russia’s air defenses in the region have assumed the tasks of political intimidation and reassurance. The Kremlin has issued warnings to both Israel and the US-led anti-ISIS coalition not to strike forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Russia is unlikely to attempt to engage Israeli or coalition aerial assets unless its own forces are attacked or the assets approach Russian military installations too closely. Even then, intercepting them will be no easy task. While Russia’s modern air defenses in Syria are formidable, they are not “game-changers.”more

Trump: No More Nation-Building Abroad

October 17, 2017,

The US was in the nation-building business for years, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. But on August 21, 2017, US President Donald Trump stated unequivocally, “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.” As he constructs policies towards Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan, as well as towards the rogue, nuclear-focused regimes in Iran and North Korea, Trump is drawing on the lessons of past follies.more

The Militia Option in Syria

The war in Syria has focused attention on the role of the militia forces. Although we may see the phenomenon as entirely negative, it also has positive aspects and reflects a genuine need that affects our lives as well.more

Israel Faces a Growing Enemy Drone Threat

October 15, 2017,

A quadcopter from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel earlier this month, and the IDF released a short message saying a unit had arrived to take it away for checks. This seemingly mundane incident is, in fact, indicative of a growing trend: the use of drones by Israel’s enemies. more

The Syrian Kurds: Israel’s Forgotten Ally

October 14, 2017,

In Syria, where chaos reigns and there are no moderates among the Sunni Arab opposition, the "enemy of my enemy" principle may apply – particularly in view of Assad's increasing dominance, the growing Iranian influence on Israel's borders, and Turkey's close ties with Hamas and warming relations with Tehran. It is therefore in Israel’s interest to act quickly to support the nascent Kurdish political region in Syria.more

Shaping Eurasia’s Future: Unintended Consequences of Abrogating Iran’s Nuclear Deal

October 13, 2017,

US President Donald J. Trump’s targeting of the two-year-old agreement curtailing Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons could not only spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, but also tilt European-Chinese competition for domination of Eurasia’s future energy infrastructure in China’s favor.more

The IDF’s Gaza Wall Might Change Hamas Strategy

October 12, 2017,

Time may be running out for one of Hamas's main weapons against Israel: its cross-border terror tunnels. As Hamas loses its potency against Israel in Gaza, it is turning its attention to fanning the flames of terrorism in the West Bank.more

Ukraine Won’t Be Solved Any Time Soon

October 11, 2017,

The conflict in East Ukraine has reached a frozen phase in which neither side is making many gains. Despite agreements, the conflict has not seen any meaningful breakthrough for more than three years. Geopolitical imperatives dictate that progress will be contingent upon either Russia or Ukraine (i.e., the West) conceding their interests. The Ukrainian problem is rooted in the geography of the country as well as in the consistent failure of Russia to leverage its involvement in Syria and other theaters for western concessions.more

The Turkish Love-Hate Relationship with America

October 10, 2017,

About the same proportion of Turks view the US (72%) and ISIS (73%) as a threat to their country. That’s weird. Erdoğan’s generation of Islamists were anti-American largely because of the Arab-Israeli dispute – although they feared Soviet communism more than American imperialism. Future generations of Turkish Islamists will hate America even more because they will have gone through long years of anti-American indoctrination by a beloved leader and his powerful propaganda machine.more

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New at BESA Center

In Memoriam: Irwin Hochberg

October 15, 2017

The BESA Center for Strategic Studies was saddened to learn of the passing of Irwin Hochberg, a longtime friend of the Center and a tireless supporter of the State of Israel.

The Low-Profile War Between Israel and Hezbollah

August 31, 2017

In defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon war, Hezbollah and its Iranian patron, with the assistance of the Bashar Assad regime, are filling Lebanon with surface-to-surface projectiles, and aiming them at population centers and strategic sites in Israel. To forestall this threat, the Israeli defense establishment has, according to media reports, been waging a low-profile military and intelligence campaign, dubbed “The War Between Wars,” which monitors and occasionally disrupts the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah.

Foreign Investment in Israel’s Strategic Industries

July 27, 2017

The changing map of foreign investment in Israel demands a new balance between market access and investment review. The Israeli government has not yet communicated to the global investment community its vision for foreign investment in Israel, especially in the banking, insurance, commodities and defense markets. This vision is crucial so that multinational companies can make informed investment decisions. Current ambiguities in this regard leads to policy inconsistency, resulting in the fact that many potential foreign buyers avoid penetrating the Israeli market altogether.

The BESA Center Bulletin, July 2017

July 1, 2017

BESA Center associates participated in numerous public forums and international media discussions surrounding the fiftieth anniversary in June of the Six Day War. They also penned a dozen critical examinations of the war and its legacy. They see the jubilee as an opportunity for strategic retrospection and truth-telling, not hand-wringing and self-flagellation.

Washington and Moscow: Confrontation or Cooperation?

Behind the ongoing media frenzy, America seems deeply divided over whether to pursue a hard line with Russia or to cooperate with it. With Donald Trump favoring the latter course, Moscow “voted” for him in the 2016 elections. But the Kremlin’s cybernetic interference in the election has led to ongoing Russo-gate and efforts by President Trump’s foes to paint him as a Manchurian candidate.

Rethinking the Six-Day War

It has long been conventional wisdom to view the June 1967 war as an accidental conflagration that neither Arabs nor Israelis desired, yet none were able to prevent. This could not be further from the truth. Its specific timing resulted of course from the convergence of a number of particular causes at a particular juncture. But its general cause—the total Arab rejection of Jewish statehood—made another all-out Arab-Israeli war a foregone conclusion.

Israel’s Inelegant Options in Judea and Samaria: Withdrawal, Annexation, and Conflict Management

In advance of the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror examines the two basic approaches to resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the creation of a bi-national state (in practice).

Recent Conferences

The Trump Upheaval

December 4, 2016

Shortly after the US presidential election in November, experts met the BESA Center to analyze the reasons for, and international implications of, Donald Trump’s triumph, and to dissect the “Yom Kippur” of the liberal elite and media.

Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean

February 21, 2017

On February 21, 2017, for the second consecutive year, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and B’nai B’rith International jointly held an international conference on Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean. The event, which took place at the Begin-Sadat Center, involved the participation of experts from Greece, Russia, Britain, Turkey, Albania, the US, and Israel.