Yadlin warns of major changes in alliances in year ahead

Political upheavals in the world could lead to major changes in alliances, Maj. Gen. (Ret) Amos Yadlin, the Executive Director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies and the former head of IDF Military Intelligence warned on Wednesday.

After presenting the annual comprehensive INSS assessment on Israel’s security situation to President Reuven Rivlin, Yadlin said that while Iran continues to be Israel’s main challenge, there are other tensions in the region.

Although he did not anticipate a war in the immediate future, and had great confidence in Israel’s military and technological strength, he said that if war does erupt, Israel will have to fight on several fronts, especially taking into account the relations between Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, as well as Iran’s increasing influence in Lebanon.

As for Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, Yadlin cautioned that there could be a Palestinian uprising in Judea and Samaria after Mahmoud Abbas fades from the scene. The long-delayed publication of the Trump peace plan could also spark an outbreak of violence, he said.

Regarding the situation in Gaza, Yadlin asserted that if the government had taken note of the INSS recommendations in 2017, “we would not have the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that we have today.”

Studies show that the younger generation of Palestinians are disappointed both in Abbas and in Hamas, said Yadlin.  “Hamas has brought them to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, and the younger generation wants a single Palestinian state, not two Palestinian states.

Yadlin was of the opinion that Israel should not worry too much about America’s withdrawal from the Middle East.  “Every American president has done what he considers is best for the American people,” he said.

Militarily, Israel has always fought her own battles, he underscored.

“The US has always been an ally, but that could change.”

Yadlin characterized as “super important” the agreements that Israel has with Egypt and Jordan, and said that all efforts should be made to maintain them.  At the same time, Israel must be alert to the possibility that any radical change in either country could affect Israel.

America can be relied on for diplomatic support and sanctions, he said, but would have a lot of reservations about future military action in the region.

Notwithstanding occasional disputes with Russia, Yadlin insisted as he has done many times before, that “Russia is not our enemy.  The Iranians are our greatest risk, and in 2019 their struggles against us will escalate. “

With Israeli elections on the horizon, Yadlin was concerned about a possible attempt at a cyber attack, which he said would cause great damage to Israel’s democracy.

He is convinced that cyber influenced the outcome of the US presidential elections because Americans were fed with so much disinformation, that it became difficult for them to discern between truth and fiction.  “We have to be aware of cyber dangers when we go to our elections” he declared.

He suggested that there should also be greater awareness of strenuous efforts in Europe and the United States. to delegitimize Israel.

He was likewise concerned that the political and religious rift between Israel and diaspora Jews is yawning ever wider, and said that it was imperative to narrow the gap.

Perhaps the most  disturbing aspect of the assessment was in the realm of prejudice.  Dr.Tzipi Israeli presented a survey which included attitudes towards the Arab population, which points to the high rate of Israeli Jews who  think that Arabs are not entitled to equal rights.

Rivlin praised the assessment which acknowledges that Israel’s military and diplomatic power, despite all the challenges, is at an unprecedented level.  He also lauded the patriotism and courage of the researchers to be critical of government policy and decisions; and to list the various threats confronting Israel, including possible changes in the relationships with the US and Russia.

“We do not have the privilege of indifference,” said Rivlin.

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