Israel and Greece in the Aftermath of October 7
On September 1, 1982, Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat stepped off the Greek cruise liner Atlantis, which had ferried him and some of his inner circle from Beirut to a marina just south of Athens, exiled by Israel’s invasion of Lebanon earlier that year. He was warmly welcomed on the dock by Greek Prime […]
The Empathy Gap
One of the most striking characteristics of the war in Gaza is a severe deficit of empathy. Israelis and Palestinians indicate that they have no emotion left for the other side. The stress would be too unbearable. In addition, each side tends to dehumanize the other, deny the other’s suffering and promise vengeance and violence […]
Israel and the World After October 7 - An Interview with Bernard-Henri Lévy
ParisThere are few men who feel the pain of distant upheavals as acutely as Bernard-Henri Lévy, 75, a French philosopher, filmmaker and public intellectual. Born to a wealthy Sephardic family in French Algeria, he cut his teeth as an international activist in his support for the war of secession against Pakistan by the erstwhile East […]
Protest, Colonization, and the Ukrainian Nation
Many observers of the pro-Gaza/Hamas demonstrations at college campuses throughout the U.S. have been taken aback by the rhetoric and behavior of the protestors and their advocates. Masked faces and widespread refusals to self-identify display the protestors’ reluctance to face real consequences for their actions. What is most troubling, however, is the contention that Israeli […]
No End to National Security Surprises
The surprise was total and horrific—Israeli men, women and children brutally killed or taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, 2023. Israel’s vaunted intelligence services failed to provide adequate warning, its military—the Israeli Defense Forces—failed to provide adequate security, and Israeli political leadership remained cocooned in their comfortable assumptions about risks to Israeli security posed by Palestinians in […]
Gaza-lighting:
How Israel’s Weakest Foe Became its Worst Enemy
Israel’s version of the Pentagon is a twin-towered office complex in HaKirya, the Compound, bordering what used to be the eastern outskirts of Tel Aviv, until 1948 when the city started expanding and flourishing. On the 14th floor of the complex is a corridor connecting the office suites of the two highest ranking officials. These […]
How the War in Gaza Plays Out in Chile’s Domestic Politics
Several left-leaning Latin American governments have criticized Israel for its response to the October 7 attack, including Mexico, Colombia, and Brazi. But Chile’s young president, Gabriel Boric, stands out for consistent harshness, which extends to his view of Chile’s Jewish community. Ethnic Politics in Chile Chile hosts Latin America’s largest Palestinian community, an estimated 400,000 […]
Israel’s Next Steps: Build on Victory
In the face of the dramatic large-scale Iranian assault on Israel April 14, Israel has a fateful choice, usually presented as whether or not to conduct a retaliatory attack on Iran. But the real choice is how Israel, as a state with its existence at stake, can exploit the current military and diplomatic situation to […]
The Houthis’ Asymmetrical Maritime Warfare
The war launched by Hamas on October 7, 2023 caught Israel and its defense establishment by surprise, but the same cannot be said of the missile attacks on Red Sea shipping by the Houthi rebel regime in Yemen.  Ever since the Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital San’a in 2014, Israeli analysts have warned that […]
Video Interview with Elyakim Rubinstein
Interview with Elyakim Rubinstein – Former Israeli Peace Negotiator and Supreme Court Justice. Interviewer: Ksenia Svetlova. Read the full transcript below.  Ksenia Svetlova: Do you believe that Israel can achieve security in the West Bank and also in the south near Gaza, without the fundamental question of solving the Palestinian issue. You negotiated Camp David […]
How Israel Wins the Postwar
Israel must finish the job of crushing Hamas in Gaza both as a military force and as a government. That’s the legitimate response to the surprise attack of October 7. This war aim also includes return of the hostages and minimizing Gazan civilian casualties to the extent possible. The Israel Defense Forces are in the […]
Rafah: Is a Common Israeli-American Approach Possible?
The final major combat phase of the Gaza war, an Israeli attack on remaining organized Hamas forces in Rafah, is approaching. It was delayed due to the humanitarian crisis impacting the Gaza population and negotiations over a limited pause in fighting for release of Israeli hostages. But the “how” of the Israeli operation has produced […]
Security Planning for Postwar Gaza
“No one starts a war–or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so–without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.” While The famous Prussian military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz penned that strategic wisdom in the 19th century, those words […]
How to Delegitimize the Practice of Hostage Taking
One of the conclusions from the Israel-Hamas war is the need for renewed, concerted action to address hostage taking. There are concrete diplomatic and law enforcement actions that the international community should take to delegitimize this practice and raise the cost to hostage takers, governments that also employ this tactic, and governments that provide safe […]
Israel On the International Legal Docket
When the International Court of Justice in the Hague decided on January 26 not to issue an injunction to stop Israel’s war in Gaza, Israel’s media saw a temporary legal victory. However, the court did not dismiss South Africa’s claim of genocide. Rather it required Israel to report within 30 days on its compliance with […]
Israel’s Revised National Security Doctrine Must Include Border Defense
Twice in the last fifty years, Israel sustained surprise attacks on a major scale. In the first instance, in October 1973, the IDF failed in fulfilling its mission of defending Israel’s frontiers, but partially compensated for this failure later in the war. Fifty years later, in October 2023, the IDF failed in an irreversible way […]
Video Interview with Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
JST columnist Ksenia Svetlova interviews Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert about the war with Hamas during his time in office, about the current conflicts in Gaza and the northern border, and Israeli domestic politics. Read the full transcript below. Note: This transcript is lightly edited for accuracy. Ksenia Svetlova: Were you surprised when October 7 […]
Is the Two-State Solution Dead?
JST Executive Editor Robert Silverman on the BBC Newsday, January 24, 2024. Listen to the recording of the interview:
Comparing Gaza with Mosul
When the war broke out in Gaza, observers made a number of comparisons to the challenges faced by the US-backed anti-ISIS coalition in the battle of Mosul. I was in northern Iraq when it began in October 2016, and I covered the battles leading up to the liberation of the old city of Mosul in March and April 2017. […]
World Energy Markets:
Why They Have Barely Responded to Date to the Middle East Conflict
Once upon a time, violent turmoil in the Middle East would spike oil prices, sending the global energy markets and the economies of industrial countries into disarray. This was the case of the 1973 Arab-Israel war, when Middle East oil producers deployed an oil embargo, shifted the balance of market power from buyers to sellers […]
The Record of Palestinian Unity Governments
On December 28, five Palestinian factions announced an agreement to form a unity government. The five included two Islamist organizations (Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad) and three small Marxist pan-Arab member groups of the PLO (led by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). All five are committed to military resistance against Israel. This announcement, […]
Even Before the Guns Fall Silent: Israel's Political Debates Reawaken
As 2024 began, the Israeli war effort in the Gaza Strip changed in nature (see Israel Shifts Tactics in Gaza), with the focus shifting to the battles in the central and southern areas and to special forces operations against Hamas’ immense tunnel system. But the hostage situation remained unresolved, with 136 still held according to […]
Let Israel Finish the Job
Did you know that Saddam Hussein won the First Gulf War of 1991? That is the version I heard in Iraq in 2003, after noticing the same Arabic inscription decorating chandeliers in Saddam’s palaces all over the country. ‘How sweet is victory with God’s aid,’ the inscription proclaimed. “What victory was Saddam referring to?” I […]
In Gaza, Israel Can Win the War But Not the Peace
The Israeli military can prevent more attacks like the one on October 7, but achieving genuine peace depends on the Palestinians. Two major questions loom over the ongoing Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip: can the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) achieve their military goals there? And can postwar political arrangements that will make future […]
Why Israel is Unable to Explain the Gaza War: A Second Opinion
Ksenia Svetlova laid out, in exquisite detail in this journal, the challenges Israel faces and many of its failures in the realm of information warfare. Unfortunately, the situation is worse than she portrays. In my view, many shortcomings are not just failures of policy execution or of imagination, as Svetlova describes, but rather the deliberate […]
Israel Shifts Tactics in Gaza
Three months into the war in Gaza ,with the defeat of most of the Hamas battalions in northern Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is preparing for a new phase of fighting. The new phase will focus on removing terrorist infrastructure in northern and central Gaza. It will include continued battles in and around Khan […]
The Gaza War as Seen from Southeast Asia
The Hamas onslaught upon Israel on October 7 and the resulting military response by Israel prompted a wide range of responses across Southeast Asia. Some are motivated by political and religious ideology, particularly in Muslim-majority nations, and others by pragmatism, self-interest and established relationships.  Indonesia In Indonesia, numerous leaders expressed support and admiration for the Hamas terror […]
Sisi’s Struggles: Egypt Faces a Widening Set of Challenges
The grand opening ceremony of Egypt’s new National Museum, reportedly the world’s largest museum space, was postponed. President Abd Al-Fattah al-Sisi had hoped to invite world leaders to gather in Giza outside Cairo, with the Pyramids as the backdrop, and give a boost to both tourism and himself as he begins a third term in […]
Next Steps in the Red Sea: Offense, Not Just Defense
Recent events in the transit lanes of the Red Sea have underscored the need for international action to restore freedom of navigation for commercial shipping traffic. Attacks on commercial ships by the Iranian proxy Houthi regime in Yemen have become a daily occurrence, not seen since Iran’s attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf from […]
Israel’s Best Friend Ever
President Joe Biden’s poll numbers are in freefall. A December 14 Pew poll found that only one-third of respondents approve of his job performance, the lowest such result since he took office. Moreover, his approval ratings even among Democrats plunged twelve percentage points since October 2022.  >> Window on Washington: Read more from Dov S. Zakheim […]
Video Interview with Einat Wilf
A transcript of the video is below. My name is Einat Wilf. I am a former member of Knesset on behalf of the Labor Party, and I am the co-author of the book The War of Return. Ksenia Svetlova: It seems that you are going the extra mile to explain what is happening in Israel. […]
Israel’s Embattled But Resilient Economy
I spoke recently with a friend, Sergeant Major Amichai, who was home for a short break after nearly two months of reserve duty in the Israeli army. Amichai owns a small tour-guiding business in Jerusalem, renting Segways and other vehicles, called SmartTours. It relies heavily on domestic and international tourism. Shortly after Hamas attacked southern Israel […]
The Gaza War and East Asia
What can be said about the impact of current developments in the Middle East on East Asia?  The most compelling current development is obviously the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which has dominated the headlines for two months and will do so for many more months to come.  War arouses strong emotions. […]
Why is Israel unable to explain the war in Gaza to the world?
The scope of the massacres committed by Hamas terrorists and Gazan civilians in southern Israel on October 7 deeply shocked Israeli society. In the aftermath of October 7 Israel was shocked a second time – by multiple denials of the massacre, the indifference to Israeli women who were raped and Israeli children who were kidnapped, […]
From Pause Back to Fighting: Report from the Gaza Front
Israel used the pause in fighting from November 24 to December 1 to prepare for a new round of operations in Gaza. This became clear as Israeli units began on December 3 to assault Khan Yunis, the major city in southern Gaza.  >> Reports from the Gaza Front: Read more from Seth J. Frantzman On […]
An Exchange of Views on Progressives and the Link between Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism
Dear Nadav, We first met when you were President Shimon Peres’s foreign policy advisor and I have long admired you as one of Israel’s most skilled diplomats. J Street also recognized this in appointing you to be its Executive Director in Israel. I believe you are a particularly good role model at this time – a […]
The Hostages Held in Gaza –
And Israel's Contradictory Impulses
There is nothing rational, let alone normative, about a situation where a terror group and its affiliates took 240 people hostage – toddlers and elderly people, children and women, young revelers abused and then abducted from a desert rave, as well as soldiers (both women and men) surprised in their bases. The numbers keep changing […]
At Dawn They Slept
The best defense is a good offense. Or is it, really? October 7, 2023, the costliest day in Israel’s history, provides a stark lesson. Sometimes going on the offensive is better, and a surer way to victory, than waiting for the enemy to land the first blow. But not always, and as a state of […]
Why is It So Difficult for Israel to Decipher Hamas?
As they were marching towards Jerusalem, the knights of the First Crusade lay siege to the city of Antioch in southern Anatolia from October 1097 to June 1098. They were approached there by envoys of the Fatimid dynasty ruling Egypt, who offered the Crusaders a plan to cooperate against the Seljuk state then in possession […]
Anti-Israel Activism in American Universities II
Middle Eastern Studies and Israel Studies
>> Read part I: The Advent of Anti-Israel Sentiment on Campus In Part I, I described the rise of anti-Israel activism on college campuses, which paralleled the political discourse in American society. Here I delve into the roles of Middle Eastern Studies and Israel Studies.  For half a century, one-sided Arab views of Middle Eastern Studies […]
Anti-Israel Activism in American Universities I
The Advent of Anti-Israel Sentiment on Campus
Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh.[ “All Israel is bound one to the other,” Jewish legal principle of the Talmud.] Introduction What hit Israelis with such ferocity and sudden force in the villages and kibbutzim on the Gaza border on October 7 was unprecedented, a disastrous tsunami of indiscriminate violence in which Hamas took 1300 lives and […]
The US College Campus as a Long-term Strategic Threat to Israel, the US and Global Stability
By now it’s clear to anyone paying attention that many American college campuses have since October 7 become hotbeds of anti-Zionism and antisemitic fervor. One Jewish professor at a small liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest, an institution you’re not hearing about in the news, recently told me that “From the River to the […]
The Intelligence Failure of October 7 – Roots and Lessons
Hamas’ sudden attack on the kibbutzim and the towns neighboring the Gaza Strip caught the IDF and the country by total surprise. During the first 24 hours, beginning at 6:30 in the morning of October 7, the Hamas Nukhba (name of the commando troops, means “elite”) and those who came in with them conquered and […]
The Hamas-Iran Relationship
In the weeks since the Hamas massacre on October 7, pundits have debated whether or not Iran helped Hamas develop the plan for the terrorist assault and if Iran had foreknowledge of the attack. Citing a Hamas source, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran helped plot the attack and that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard […]
Iran’s "Controlled Insurgency" against the US in Syria and Iraq
In the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7th and during Israel’s counter-offensive into Gaza, Iranian proxy militias in Iraq and Syria have escalated attacks on US positions in both countries. Fully 60 such attacks have taken place against US forces since October 7. 56 American personnel have suffered injuries in these attacks […]
Three Weeks of Ground War in Gaza
On Saturday, November 18, Israel’s war in Gaza reached its 43rd day and the ground offensive in Gaza has now reached its three-week mark. This war, Israel’s leaders say, is going to be long. But we are beginning to see the ground offensive reach a new phase. >> Reports from the Gaza Front: Read more from Seth […]
Biden's Decision and the American Military Deployment
The profound strategic implications of the American support for Israel in the war against Hamas – including a significant US military deployment to the region (two Carrier Strike Forces and an Ohio-class nuclear submarine, as well as air assets), albeit for the purpose of deterrence rather than participation in the fighting – will fully manifest […]
China’s Turn Toward Antisemitism
“The United States as a nation has been severely kidnapped by political and other forces derived from Jewish capital,” thus said Dong Manyuan, the former Vice president of CIIS, the Chinese foreign ministry’s think tank, in a TV interview on November 1, in response to the interviewer claim that Jews “manipulate and control” 70% of […]
Petting Hamas While Killing Kurds, The Double Game of Turkish President Erdoğan
“We will tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal. We are preparing for this. We will declare Israel a war criminal,” said Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdoğan during the “Great Palestinian Rally” that took place in Istanbul on October 28, exactly three weeks after Hamas murdered over 1400 Israeli and other citizens, […]
Initial Lessons From the October 2023 War
As these lines are being written, the war is ongoing and may yet intensify. It is perhaps too early to posit conclusive lessons at this stage. Therefore, I would qualify all of the findings below by suggesting that they must be put to the test of systematic criticism – alongside many of our military and […]
Latin American Views on the Gaza War Are in Flux
In the days and weeks after the October 7 terrorist attack and Israeli military response, some Latin American nations have distanced themselves politically from Israel. While views of the conflict are evolving, the Latin American public’s reliance on social media for news reports, amid relentlessly negative images of suffering in Gaza, has contributed to widespread […]
Video Interview with Yair Golan
A transcript of the video is below. I’m Yair Golan, a former general in the Israeli Defense Forces until 2017. I was the Deputy Chief of Staff. Since then I became a politician in leftist parties and I served as a member of the Knesset from 2019 to 2022. Q: What did you do on […]
The Ground War in Gaza Begins
The week of fighting on the ground that began on Saturday, October 27 was tough. There were Israeli military casualties and Gazan civilian casualties. The worst incident for Israel came when a Namer armored personnel carrier was hit with a missile and eleven soldiers were killed. A well-known tank commander, Salman Habaka, who had played a key role […]
The Price of Greatness is Responsibility
Usually, history’s turning points are invisible to the living.  Forks in the road are spotted by historians only long after events and their immediate repercussions have faded. But sometimes history visibly shifts for its participants onto a new course. We are now living through one of those turning points in history.  2023 was the year that […]
Reader’s Response: Russia is a Marginal Player in the Gaza War
The article by Stephen Blank of October 25, “Russia’s Role in the Gaza War,” provides much good evidence of Russia’s initial efforts to capitalize on the war for its own purposes. But that article may have overestimated the extent of Russian involvement in and influence over Hamas, Hizbullah and indeed over Iran. The Kremlin aspires […]
The primary victims of Hamas are Palestinian
On the night of January 25, 2006, after Hamas won a majority of the seats in elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, its political leader Ismail Haniya told the press he had requested a meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the future of the Palestinian government. “Hamas will cooperate with everybody for […]
Defending the Basic Values of Humanity After October 7
In Europe, we have fancied ourselves to be living in a postmodern world. But after the totalitarian assault by Russia against Ukraine and this month’s terrorist attack by Hamas against Israeli civilians, this dispassion is a luxury we can no longer afford.
Three European Views of the Gaza War
Public Opinion Swings Against IsraelHugh Pope In a recent broadcast, the presenters of The Rest is Politics – a bipartisan British podcast listened to by five million people a month – demonstrated a trend in Europe away from unconditional support for Israel to more sympathy for the Palestinians. Hosts Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart noted […]
Postwar Gaza Planning: An Initial Checklist
Postwar planning for Gaza needs to start now. Prior to October 7, nobody in Israel was planning for this war. Thus, planning now for what happens if Hamas is defeated may be way behind. It will take many weeks to marshal the necessary resources, equipment, people, and authorizations to meet the basic requirements of Gaza’s […]
Balancing Military and Humanitarian Necessities: Legal Aspects of the War in Israel and Gaza
The atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians on October 7 do not exempt Israel from abiding by its own commitments under international law. Even in a war against a brutal terrorist organization engaged in acts of absolute evil, international humanitarian law still applies. Most of these legal obligations are designed to protect the civilian […]
Beyond Gaza, the Confrontation with Iran
Iran seeks to derail the US regional effort based on Saudi-Israeli normalization
What’s Next for Gaza
The longer Israel holds off entering the Gaza Strip, the greater will be the number of voices around the world calling upon Israel not to enter at all. The arguments against an incursion are depressingly familiar. There will be those who will counsel against anger and revenge and for “proportionality.” And there will be those […]
Russia’s Role in the Gaza War
Several media outlets have speculated about Moscow’s involvement in Hamas’ most recent aggression against Israel. Certainly, this war may have the effect, whether intended or not, of benefitting Moscow by diverting Western attention and support from Ukraine. But there is some evidence, presented below, of Moscow’s intention to exploit and benefit from the war so as to […]
A Second Week of War: Israel’s Ground Forces Wait on Two Fronts
The second week of the war between Hamas and Israel began on October 15 with expectations for a ground incursion into Gaza, and ended on October 22 with Israeli forces on the border of Gaza and the border of Lebanon continuing to wait and see.  >> Reports from the Gaza Front: Read more from Seth […]
The Israel/Lebanon Border:
Will Escalation Lead to a War on Two Fronts?
The danger of today’s conflict in Gaza becoming a two-front war for Israel depends on a range of issues, most importantly Lebanese Hizbullah’s leadership and  capabilities, the strategic aims of Hizbullah’s patron, Iran, and the actions of Israel and the United States to effectively deter escalation. Hizbullah as an organization plays three different roles at […]
Russian Policy and Hamas’ Assault: Putin Benefits From Chaos
If there is a winner emerging from the October 7 terrorist attack and subsequent war in Gaza, it is Vladimir Putin. On October 8, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia is interested in starting a war in the Middle East to “undermine world unity.” Russia may not need to start a full-blown war, but Zelensky understands that the current escalation in […]
Assessment of the Biden Visit to Israel
JST Executive Editor Robert Silverman on the BBC World Service Newsday, October 19, 2023. Listen to the recording of the interview:
Where’s the Nearest Carrier?
While onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in 1993, President Bill Clinton opined that when word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it is no accident that the first question many people ask is: ”Where’s the nearest carrier?” President Bill Clinton aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt, March 12, 1993 Once again American history repeats itself. In the immediate aftermath […]
A Positive Exit Strategy From Gaza
“The real victory comes not from defeating our enemy but from achieving a better place for Israel and our Palestinian neighbors.”  Yair Lapid, Knesset Speech, October 16, 2023 The ground campaign in Gaza has yet to start as I write on October 16. Much of the world’s focus is rightly on supporting Israel’s stated objectives: […]
Gazan Civilian Casualties: Hamas’ Strategy and Israel’s Achilles Heel
Israel has correctly assessed the October 7 attack as an existential threat to the state. To be sure, Hamas could never overrun Israel. But if Hamas remains capable of such attacks, possibly coordinated next time with the greater military threats of Lebanese Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, Israel could be pushed to the brink (as nearly […]
A Decision Not to Decide:
Israel’s View of Hamas Before October 7
In the aftermath of the Hamas attack on October 7, Israeli government and military chiefs have repeatedly promised the Israeli public that soon HAMAS will not rule over Gaza, politically or militarily. Hamas has been in power in Gaza for 16 years. Let’s review Israel’s recent history with Hamas, to show how inaction and postponing decision-making […]
Report from the Gaza Front: A New Playbook
I spent the first days of the war on the Gaza border, mostly near Kibbutz Zikim. On the fifth day, October 11, I went to the Gaza border city of Sderot and spent time in the community, speaking with locals and also with the police. From these conversations and also discussions with members of the […]
Letter to my Friends:
Unite Behind the Israeli Government
Life in Jerusalem, as I imagine elsewhere, consists these days of gluing ourselves to the hourly news, updating friends and family and listening to them. One theme I get a lot directs anger at Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government for responsibility for the mass murders that took place on Saturday. I would like […]
In the Name of God, Go
It was late in the day on Tuesday May 7, 1940, when Leo Amery, a middle-aged former minister and Conservative Party backbencher, rose in his seat to address the House of Common in the aftermath of Britain’s disastrous Norway campaign. His party leader, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, had offered a weak defense of the Norway […]
How Could This Happen?
Israelis woke up on 7 October 2023 to a day of grief, outrage, and ultimately, incomprehension.  It was not the missiles which mattered. Israelis have grown accustomed to missile attacks from Gaza. The horrors which gradually unfolded resulted from an overland breach of the Gaza border defenses. At various points in time on October 7, 14 […]
WE ARE ALL ISRAELIS
The 1973 Yom Kippur War began as a surprise attack on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. On October 7, 2023, history has repeated itself. Earlier today, Hamas, an Iran-backed terror group, launched a surprise attack by land, water, and air – including glider assaults and more than 5,000 rocket strikes in the first […]
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