Dr. Tsilla Hershco

Dr. Tsilla Hershco

Dr. Tsilla Hershco

(Ph.D. Bar-Ilan University) Specializes in Franco-Israeli relations, U.S.-French relations, France and the Mideast conflict, Muslims and Jews in France, E.U.-Israeli relations, and E.U. affairs. Email: [email protected]

France’s Fight Against Islamic Radicalization: The Writing Is Still on the Wall

| October 5, 2018

The lack of integration into France of many Muslims over a long period, combined with severe socio-economic problems, has produced bitterness, alienation, and fertile ground for radical imams who use the French separation between state and religion (Laïcité) to promote uncontrolled Islamist radicalization. The French leadership has failed to cope with these problems as it is not politically correct to intervene in religious matters. The ISIS terrorist attacks, perpetrated by radicalized French Muslims, brought the issues to the center of the public discourse. President Macron embraced many of his predecessor’s counterterrorism measures and moved further with ambitious deradicalization plans designed to address the core problems, including mounting suburban crime. However, increasing Muslim radicalization, as well as a growing left-right polarization regarding the ways to tackle the problem, still present serious challenges to the French republican order.


Netanyahu and Macron: Divergences and Convergences

| July 10, 2018

Benjamin Netanyahu’s June 2018 visit to Paris illustrated the complexity of Israel-France relations. On the one hand, there are significant divergences over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iranian nuclear agreement, exacerbated by the growing US-Europe gap. On the other, there are mutual respect, shared concerns, significant bilateral relations, and a strategic dialogue to help bridge the controversial issues.


Macron’s Proactive Position on Iran: Dialogue vs. Sanctions

| March 20, 2018

Emmanuel Macron, France’s charismatic new leader, has adopted a proactive approach towards Iran that combines a moderate attitude with Sarkozy’s hard line. On the one hand, he supports the strict preservation of the 2015 nuclear agreement and opposes Trump’s ”fix or annul” view of the deal. He also supports tightened bilateral relations with Tehran. On the other hand, he has adopted a hard line, demanding the establishment of an international mechanism of inspection and sanctions on the Iranian ballistic missile program as well as a restriction on its destabilizing involvement in the region. Macron’s demands have started a war of words between Paris and Tehran that has the potential to escalate.  


Macron’s Presidency Heralds Nothing New in Israel-France Relations

| December 12, 2017

Emmanuel Macron’s presidency heralds no new era in Israel-France relations, particularly on issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Like other French presidents before him, he condemns Palestinian terrorism and Israeli settlements in the West Bank as if they are moral equivalents. His response to US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was to reassert the traditional French subscription to the two-state solution and to stress that Paris does not approve of the American move.


Macron’s Election and the Challenges He Faces

| May 22, 2017

Emmanuel Macron’s election as France’s president by an impressive majority was met by widespread relief in most of the EU countries and in the western world. It would be a mistake, however, to ignore the deep divisions in French society that the election revealed. Large portions of the French public deeply distrust the political establishment, the EU, and globalization. The result was less an expression of support for Macron’s platform and more a rejection of Marine Le Pen. However, the threat to French democracy emanating from the far right as well as the far left is not yet over. Macron will have to overcome huge challenges – and quickly – if he is to deliver on his promises of economic reform and his pledges to bridge the deep gaps in French society and politics.


The Impact of the ISIS Terror Attacks on Europe

| April 30, 2017

The appalling terrorist assaults perpetrated by ISIS in Europe have led to significant changes in the European state of mind. By exposing the vulnerability of EU state borders, they have prompted rudimentary initiatives to secure those borders and increase counter-terror cooperation among EU member states, while also boosting the popularity of far-right parties. The attacks have given rise to a discreet cooperation between EU member states and Israel in dealing with the terrorist threat, but have not prompted the EU to change its critical position regarding Israel’s defensive measures against Palestinian terror. The moral double standard of the EU on this issue might undermine its own fight against Islamist terrorism.


France’s Counterproductive “Peace Initiative”

| January 13, 2017

Francois Hollande’s desire to leave office with a foreign policy accomplishment under his belt notwithstanding, the French “peace initiative” will not achieve a rapprochement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. On the contrary: it is dangerous to both Israeli and Palestinian security, and conveys the harmful message that obstructionism, violence and incitement are effective policy tools.


Trump’s Ambivalence Towards NATO Could Backfire

| November 29, 2016

US President-Elect Donald Trump has toned down the anti-NATO rhetoric he employed on the campaign trail, but it remains uncertain whether he appreciates the value of the organization for American interests. NATO provides security insurance not only to Europe but also to the US. Trump should be cautious about weakening its deterrence and power projection.


France and the Iranian Nuclear Program

| November 14, 2013

France’s bold move to hold up a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran reflects its broader policy and genuine concern about a nuclear Iran.


France and the Syrian Civil War: From Diplomacy to Military Intervention?

| September 8, 2013

France has changed its view that conflicts can be resolved only through diplomacy, which explains the country’s recent military activism in Libya, Mali, and perhaps soon in Syria, as well.