Examining Newly-Formed Mixed Arab-Jewish Municipal Coalitions

March 15, 2019

Through a national-political lens, political cooperation between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel seems unlikely, as their national issues seem to be insurmountable and of central importance. However, the formation of a mixed Jewish-Arab municipal coalition in Lod brings the supposed centrality of national politics into question, and points to cooperation on shared local issues.

The American Intelligence Threat Assessment on Iran’s Nuclear Program

March 11, 2019

On Jan. 29, 2019, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: “We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.” However, experience helps us realize that the American intelligence community has a very problematic track record in revealing, on time, nuclear weaponization efforts of many countries (e.g., North Korea, India, Pakistan, Syria, and Iraq) including Iran itself, so one has to be very humble about this kind of assessment.

Tourism to Israel and National Security

In 2018, a record 4.1 million tourists visited Israel from all over the world. The figure is particularly impressive, given the security incidents in this period, the extensive coverage of security-related events by the foreign press and social media, and the BDS campaign. While global tourism between 2007 and 2018 increased 60 percent, tourism in Israel in the same period rose 100 percent.

Exclusive Pre-Elections Survey

March 6, 2019

Exclusive Pre-Elections survey by the Guttman Center at the Israel Democracy Institute finds that half of Israelis find it harder than in the past to decide whom to vote for; 25% base their choice on the party’s positions on socioeconomic issues and 18% on who heads the party; 27% do not trust the integrity of the Knesset elections.

India’s New Israel Policy

March 4, 2019

In January 2019, about two weeks before India’s Republic Day, Israel’s National Security Advisor, Meir Ben-Shabbat, flew to New Delhi and met Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi. While such consultations have been routine for the past two decades, the Israeli official chose the direct Air India flight from Tel Aviv – a new flight connection that could only be established due to an unprecedented permit for Israel-bound flights to fly over Saudi airspace. The small incident highlights the distance that India and Israel have traveled since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1992.

Israeli-Japanese Friendship: A Potential Yet to Be Realized

March 3, 2019

In the past few years, Israel has begun to tilt toward the East. While Israel’s growing relationship with China, in particular, has gained widespread attention in recent years, little attention has been paid to Israel’s relationship with the other Asian economic superpower—Japan.

Eight Years after the Upheaval: Alternative Approaches to Understanding the Current Middle East

February 28, 2019

Eight years after a series of uprisings erupted across the Middle East, there is a debate whether a relatively stable order (old or new) has taken hold in the Middle East, or whether the region remains unstable and, therefore, will continue to produce waves of unrest.

Iran’s Strategy for Control of Syria

February 18, 2019

Recent statements by a number of Israeli officials have claimed a degree of success in Israel’s efforts to contain and roll back Iran’s entrenchment in Syria. But while Israel’s tactical successes are certainly notable and impressive, the big picture is that Iran’s influence and strength in Syria continues to deepen and expand. Iran’s efforts are taking place at three levels: below the official Syrian state structures – in the arming and sponsoring of Iran-controlled paramilitary formations on Syria soil, within the Syrian state – in the control of institutions that are officially organs of the regime, and above the state, in the pursuit of formal links between the Iranian and Syrian regimes.

Civil War? The rift between Fatah and Hamas, as seen on social media

February 15, 2019

Michael Barak surveys the online discourse surrounding the ongoing feud between the Fatah and Hamas movements, which has been characterized by public disputes between supporters of the respective movements. The tension is causing public concern about the possibility of further deterioration into civil war.

Arab Politics in the 2019 Election Campaign

February 13, 2019

Arab society in Israel is not a homogenous political or ideological community, but rather — a mosaic made up of four main streams: Arab-Israeli (Zionist); Arab-Jewish non-Zionist (communist); Islamic, and Nationalist. The Arab-Israeli stream is represented in Jewish– Zionist political parties (on the Right and Left), and the other three are currently represented by the Joint List. The latter three streams all emphasize the Arab community’s Palestinian identity, but differ in certain aspects of their world views. Whereas the nationalist stream stresses the Palestinian nationalist component of the Arab minority’s identity, the Islamic stream stresses the religious (Islamic) component, and the Arab-Jewish stream believes in Arabs and Jews joining forces in social activism.

The Middle East economy in the last decade

February 11, 2019

The population of the Middle East has increased by nearly over 100 million, or 22 percent in the ten years preceding 2017. The population of the Arab states rose by 83 million or a quarter, while the three non-Arab states increased more slowly. Israel’s population rise was close to the Middle East average. Egypt, the largest Arab state in demographic terms, experienced a rise of 20 million or nearly 26 percent. These increases, which were among the fastest in the world, placed huge strains on the economies of the region. They required more food supplies in a region that is chronically short of water, investments in the infrastructure, and fast economic growth to generate jobs.

Special Elections Survey

February 8, 2019

The Jewish public is divided over the question whether the prime minister should resign if indicted by the Attorney General, pending a hearing; 52% of the Jewish public believes that Israelis living abroad should also have the right to vote. 52% of the Israeli public (49.5% of Jews, 66% of Arabs) believes that Prime Minister Netanyahu should resign if the Attorney General recommends that he be indicted, while 35.5% believe he can continue serving as prime minister.