From Shalom Hartman Institute Scholars
Shalom Hartman Institute North America President Yehuda Kurtzer offers his immediate thoughts about the Iran nuclear deal as he heard the news in Hebron. He writes about the complexity and anxiety that arise from settlements, such as the one in Hebron, and existential threats from Iran. He urges negotiation, activism, and legislation to bring hope to Israel and the region.
Since the Gaza War in the summer of 2014, Israel has been accused of killing innocent civilians and oppressing Palestinians by many countries, Hartman Institute President Donniel Hartman says. At the same time, Israeli settlers in the West Bank refuse to leave because of security concerns. Donniel says that we should not apply this logic and “be the victim,” but instead should let others know that our values are worthy of identification, in order to shape a new “math” in the Middle East.
Hartman Institute scholars Alexander Yakobson and Yitzhak Benbaji discuss the method and strategy of Hamas during the 2014 Gaza War. They say that some argue for the legitimacy of underground militias attacking military and certain other targets, but they also say that Hamas’s tactics of targeting civilians through missiles and terrorist attacks are inhuman and war crimes, especially as it is no longer an underground militia but the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip. Hamas’s strategy, they write, harms both Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Critics of Israel have questioned its motives of attacking Hamas, given the high costs. Hartman Institute research fellow Alexander Yakobson , however, raises the question about the cost of not attacking Hamas. He also cites the cost of both partition and non-partition of the land between Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. He concludes that, because Hamas is not interested in peace whatsoever, the cost of not fighting it is much greater.
Hartman Institute research fellow Yossi Klein Halevi discusses the goals and strategies of terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which seek Israel’s destruction. Despite Israel’s technological and military advantages, Halevi says, Hamas and Hezbollah’s psychological tactics have affected world opinion and Israeli morale. Furthermore, the prospect that Hamas would take over the West Bank if Israel pulls out adds to the complexity of the situation.
Donniel Hartman: Sovereignty & Identity for Jews and Israel
Hartman Institute President Donniel Hartman discusses the meaning of Jewish sovereignty in the State of Israel.
Hartman Fellow Shlomit Harrosh Defends Haredi Draft Bill in Debate
Hartman Institute research fellow Shlomit Harrosh debates Jonathan Rosenblum on the legislative proposal to expand conscription to all Israeli youths, including haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men and women, who have had a special exemption since the founding of the State of Israel. Harrosh says that drafting all Israelis would strengthen its democracy by sharing the burden equally among various religious and demographic groups.
From Outside Sources
The Economist: The Israel Defense Forces: Taking Wing
In 2013, the Knesset approved a military restructuring plan that aims to professionalize the army. In an analysis of this move, the Economist wrote that it reflected the trend within the Israeli military to shift from conventional armies to the air force, intelligence gathering, and cyber warfare. This is a result of the decreasing threat of its neighbors’ (Egypt, Syria, etc.) conventional militaries and an increasing one from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran.
A government report from July 2015 proposed deep cuts in the IDF’s spending plan and pension plans, a sharp reduction in the duration of the compulsory service, a fixed five-year budget, and reducing the terms of noncombatant soldiers from three to two years. The report’s commission is headed by Maj. Gen. Yohanan Locker. The report has been criticized by the IDF, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, for harming “IDF’s ability to fulfill its role.”
Jerusalem Post: Lessons from Gaza
Since the pullout of Israel from Gaza and the subsequent rocket attacks from Hamas, many Israelis have been convinced that disengagement is a failure, a Jerusalem Post editorial writes. The editorial says, however, that disengagement is not the root of the problem; any disengagement or territorial concession without direct negotiation would strengthen terrorist groups like Hamas. Any negotiation for a two-state solution must keep this in mind, the Post says.