The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

Prof. Efraim Inbar: Even with the Iran threat looming, we are still in a strong strategic situation

World Israel News, 16.4.2018

By Steve Leibowitz


“Israel’s current strategic situation is one of the most favorable the country has known in its 70 years of existence.” That’s the view of Udi Dekel from the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), who tempers his view by adding, “Our margins of security are narrow, we cannot rely on our laurels, or on IDF military power alone.”

Veteran Israeli diplomat Yoram Ettinger told World Israel News (WIN), “Our national security is beyond expectations compared to our situation 70 years ago. Before the War of Independence we were supposed to be resoundingly defeated. We surprised everyone by winning the war. Today Israel is the most reliable strategic ally of the US in the Middle East. We have secured our borders and we have become the life insurance policy for Arab allies of the US. Back then we were ‘consumers of American national security.’ Today we are security producers for ourselves, for the US and for its allies.”

Ettinger cautions that Israel is “still under existential threat from Iran and its proxies such as Hezbollah, but we are no longer totally dependent on outside help to survive. We have a strong posture of deterrence, and we are now a net security producer.”

Dan Diker from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs told WIN, “Israel is in better situation than David Ben Gurion could have dreamed of in 1948. We are the world’s leader in cyber defense, military technology, emergency management and counter-terrorism. According to Diker, “Israel has learned the hard way to be resilient in the face of terrorism, and has succeeded so well that we are now among the world leaders when pollsters take ‘measures of happiness.’ Our people feel secure and generally speaking feel that Israel is a quality place to live.”

Diker points out that, “instead of facing hostile nations and their armies at our borders, we face Hezbollah and Hamas” which he calls “hydra terror groups.” Diker explains, “The enemies control a population and command a military element, but they are still terrorists.” Diker says that “Iran pulls the strings as the state sponsor of terrorism and remains a challenging opponent.”

Professor Efraim Inbar from the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies told WIN, “Israel at 70 is in pretty good shape. There are no conventional threats to our existence. The main challenge is Iran and we must deal with them. On the other hand all of our one-time Sunni Muslim opponents have made peace with Israel and those who have not, need our help to stand up against Iran. We are now hoping for Trump’s help with Iran but it should also be clear that we have a strong army and can defend ourselves. Even with the Iran threat looming, we are still in a strong strategic situation.”

Former US Ambassador to Israel Danny Ayalon told WIN, “After 70 years the threats have increased 70 fold, but our military abilities have increased 700 times.” Ayalon explains, “Israel’s overall security is better than ever. The qualitative edge over our neighbors has increased. Iran remains a threat and so do its proxies. It’s a threat we are able to manage.”

Middle East analyst Amotz asa El told WIN, “Israel is a much better place than even a decade ago. All of our enemies have suffered from severe political restlessness and upheaval at home. Israel needs to remain vigilant. Sadly we still face life and death situations, but the Arab world around us is retreating from its historic vow to destroy the Jewish State. This is very meaningful in the long term because with all its bluster, Iran is relatively far away and cannot really confront us directly.”

Security expert Dr. Gerald Steinberg from Bar Ilan University told WIN, “Our overall security situation is very good. We used to worry about Arab armies with hundreds of aircraft and thousands of tanks. Those threats are gone. Sure there are skirmishes on the Gaza border and there are security incidents, but it’s not an existential threat. Even the intifada violence of 2001-2002 is not likely to return.”

“The notion of Iran in possession of nuclear weapons is a problem, but Israel can deal with the issue especially since it seems likely that the US will make efforts to reassert its presence. Iran supports Hezbollah in Lebanon. This remains a major threat to Israel, but in the worst case we are facing hundreds of rockets in the first days of a potential war. This is a containable danger and Israel’s survival would not be at stake,” he said.


World Israel News, 16.4.2018