Analysis: Iran is not on the radar - yet

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2009

There is more than a hint of disingenuousness to the protestations that last week’s exercise of the entire Israeli Air Force and next week’s national Home Front drill are both routine annual exercises.

Armies, of course, routinely carry out exercises — but part of that routine is to play out certain scenarios, and it is those scenarios which give an indication as to the army’s intentions and concerns.

So what can we learn from the scenarios in these two exercises?


Analysis: Hyping the Israeli threat pays off

By Gary Gambill, May 21, 2009

Two weeks ahead of its elections, Lebanon is conducting a wide-ranging crackdown on alleged Israeli spies. In sharp contrast to previous, smaller-scale operations, the current wave of arrests is being spearheaded not by Hizbollah or the army, but by the Internal Security Forces (ISF), an American-trained agency commanded by partisans of parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri.


Analysis: The Pope had no chance of keeping everyone happy

By Uri Dromi, May 14, 2009

When Pope Benedict XVI left the Holy Land, he probably felt like that woman who applied for a new job. “I see you were last employed by a psychiatrist,” said the employer to the applicant. “Why did you leave?” “Well,” she replied, “I just couldn’t win. If I was late to work, I was hostile. If I was early, I had an anxiety complex. If I was on time, I was compulsive.”


Analysis: An opportunity for Israel, if it’s smart

By Miriam Shaviv, May 14, 2009

Israel, and its supporters, are squirming. For the past few weeks, Washington has slowly been ratcheting up the pressure on the Jewish state, releasing increasingly alarming details of the demands President Obama intends to put to Prime Minister Netanyahu when they meet in Washington next week. Mr Netanyahu must accept Palestinian statehood; settlements must be frozen; more responsibility for security must be granted to the Palestinians. Most ominously, President Obama’s efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear programme will be linked to progress in the Palestinian peace process.


Analysis: Leaders must build a rapport before the work begins

By Barry Rubin, May 14, 2009

What does Israel want from PM Netanyahu’s first meeting with President Obama? There are four main themes: assess US thinking, get along, inform US policymakers of Israel’s concerns, and persuade Mr Obama on the issues.

The single most important aspect of this meeting is that it is the first between the two as their countries’ leaders. They will have to see if they understand each other, though both will make a big effort to portray the encounter as a success. Mr Netanyahu has to defuse the negative stereotype of himself as uncooperative on peace.


Analysis: A one and three-quarter state solution may be Bibi’s best offer

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 14, 2009

The White House has all but spelt it out. If Binyamin Netanyahu doesn’t commit himself to a two-state solution in his meeting with Barack Obama on Monday, he may as well save the airfare. Bibi is an astute enough observer of American politics to understand that this time, no amount of lobbying by congressional allies or senior Jewish Democrats is going to change the administration’s policy. He is going to have to find a way to deliver the goods.


Analysis: Why this had to happen

By Jan Shure - Travel Editor, May 13, 2009

The launch of direct flights to Eilat this winter by the resort’s leading hotel chain, Isrotel, is an acknowledgement of both the importance of the UK market to the Red Sea city, and also a realisation that if potential visitors have to endure lengthy and inconvenient journeys they will simply choose to go elsewhere.


Analysis: Catholics have high hopes

By Catherine Pepinster, May 7, 2009

As Pope Benedict prepares for his forthcoming visit to Israel and the Middle East his intention is clear — he travels as a pilgrim of peace to the Holy Land. For Catholics, the holy places that the Pope will visit — Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth — rank alongside Rome in their importance for pilgrims.

But the visit also has profound implications for the Roman Catholic Church, for this papacy, and for its relations with the Jewish people and Judaism.


Analysis: What the report does prove

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 23, 2009

“I am not going to apologise for even one moment that we carried out an operation in which only ten soldiers were killed,” said a very senior IDF officer this week. “We fought against a vicious enemy that used civilians, ambulances, schools and mosques as shields, every step of the way. So I’m not prepared for any self-flagellation, just a degree of self-criticism.” This attitude encapsulates the reasoning behind a series of reports released this week by the IDF on the fighting in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.


Why I’m going to the geneva conference to fight antisemitism

April 14, 2009

Controversy reigns over the UN’s anti-racism conference. Delegate Rosalind Preston explains why she’ll be there:

For me there was never any doubt. How could we not be present at a conference where the Jewish world in general and Israel in particular is expected to be vilified and demeaned?