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Israeli Sovereignty Over the Temple Mount Is Crucial for Peace

July 24, 2017,

Regardless of its direct security merits, Israel’s decision to place metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount has been transformed by adversaries and Israel alike into an issue of sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Power-sharing there has always constituted a slippery slope to disaster. The murder of two Israeli policemen at the Temple Mount is an appropriate moment to rectify the situation by reasserting Israeli sovereignty over the holy site.more

The Rami Hamdallah Compliment: IDF Policy Towards the Palestinians Proves Its Value

Measured IDF policy towards the Palestinians does not reflect leftist leanings in the IDF high command or fear of the ICC. The main driver of IDF policy is a sensible cost-benefit analysis. The benefits of a much harsher line, in terms of reducing the current occasional pattern of violence, are uncertain, but the costs would certainly be high – not least in terms of opportunities to boost Israel's relations with key players around the world. These considerations have now withstood the test of the dramatic events on the Temple Mount, and proved as relevant as ever. more

Israel’s Possible Paths to Nuclear War

July 22, 2017,

North Korea’s nuclearization has implications for Israel's nuclear deterrence posture. There are several plausible means by which a nuclear conflict could arise in the Middle East. It may be time to consider a phase-out of Israel's "deliberate nuclear ambiguity" and to focus Israeli planning around evaluations of enemy rationality.more

Modi’s Visit – The View from Jerusalem

July 21, 2017,

The visit by the Indian PM Narendra Modi caused many Jerusalemites, like me, a lot of traffic delays. In retrospect, it was definitely a price worth paying. Modi showed remarkable courage by coming to Israel without balancing it with a visit to the Palestinian Authority. His departure from the political correct symmetry pleased the Israelis and signaled that India has decided to act on its national interests. Israelis hope Modi’s pragmatic approach will be emulated by other senior dignitaries coming to Israel.more

Erdoğan’s Mission Impossible: Sustainable Turkish-Arab Solidarity

July 20, 2017,

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who firmly believes it is religion that should shape national friendships and enmities, has tried singlehandedly to inject love for the Arab into Turkish society. The desire to accomplish this has implications for Turkish foreign policy. Erdoğan’s grand design has crashed not only into the Arab Spring but also into Middle East realism. The Saudi-led Gulf siege of Qatar came as a complete shock: one Sunni brother had taken out the sword against another.more

Rethinking Israel-World Jewry Relations

July 19, 2017,

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Much is being written against the ultra-orthodox fiat over prayer and conversion in Israel, emphasizing the potential consequences if the US “diaspora” were to take offense and become irreversibly alienated. But the US is not Israel’s periphery. American Jewry is not Israel’s diaspora, and no Jew in the US lives in exile. Israel must adapt to modern times – in faith, as it does in technology – first and foremost, for the sake of its own citizenry. It must take a firm, fair, and inclusive position on who is and is not a Jew, who is and is not an Israeli, and how the two attributes can reconcile in a modern pluralistic democracy.more

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and In Between

July 18, 2017,

The tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan reached new heights at the end of May after the explosion of a fuel tanker in the diplomatic neighborhood of Kabul. The Chinese leadership, which until recently has watched these tensions from afar, decided to step in and build a mechanism of collaboration. This move is consistent with China’s strategic aim: the stabilization of the global arena in general, and of countries that might be partners in the BRI initiative in particular. As much as the Chinese want to build land and sea roads, they will have to deal with difficulties in and among the countries these roads will cross.more

Pursuits of Pyrrhic Prestige in the Middle East

July 17, 2017,

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: As demonstrated by Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s letter of 1536 to French King Francis I, the clout of absolute political prestige finds legitimacy in the power of religion. The prestigious absolutisms animating the claim to fame of most states in and around Arabia today could become the reason why the Middle East may soon have to unite or disintegrate.more

Potable Water vs. Energy Resources: National Security Under Trump and Netanyahu

July 16, 2017,

Access to potable water is critical for Israel’s future, yet Israel depends more and more on desalination plants, aquifers, and water from outside its borders to provide this resource. These sources could be in jeopardy as Israel seeks to extract oil and natural gas off its coast and on land. There is a real possibility that President Donald Trump might seek access to Israel’s energy supplies at the cost of its water, an ominous prospect.more

Abbas Will Never Walk the Walk of Peace

July 15, 2017,

Thanks to his struggle against Israel, Mahmoud Abbas is a political superstar. Many heads of NATO states can only dream of his access to great leaders. As long as Abbas does not make peace with Israel, he meets US presidents with almost the same frequency as the prime minister of Great Britain. If he does make peace, he might suffer the fate of Jordan’s kings, who meet the US president far less after having signed the Israel-Jordan peace treaty than they did before.more

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New at BESA Center

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).

Professor Efraim Karsh Becomes Director of the BESA Center

November 6, 2016

The Executive Council of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Efraim Karsh as the new center director. He succeeds Professor Efraim Inbar, who concludes a 25-year tenure as the center’s founding director.

The BESA Center Bulletin, November 2016

October 31, 2016

A summary of the center’s activities in 2016, including seven conferences, eight guest lectures, 60 new publications, and more. Prof. Efraim Karsh, the new director of the center, takes his piercing pen to the Oslo peace process – “one of the worst-ever calamities to have hit Israelis and Palestinians.”

Australia and Israel Should Develop Closer Ties in Defense and Foreign Affairs

October 31, 2016

A study by APSI and BESA Center experts considers common strategic interests and suggests security cooperation between Canberra and Jerusalem.

Israeli Palestinian Policy – Whereto?

October 11, 2016

Yaakov Amidror, Hillel Frisch, Gershon Hacohen, Efraim Inbar, Eran Lerman and Max Singer discuss Israel’s policies on the Palestinian issue, in a post-Obama and post-Abbas era.

In Memoriam: Muzi Wertheim

October 7, 2016

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies mourns the passing in August of Mr. Muzi Wertheim, one of the titans of modern Israeli industry and a founder of the Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. He was 86.

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.