Is there an election in Israel?

The word election in Hebrew means choice. The chosen people, at least those who chose to live in the holy land and are above 18 years old, are going to pick their representatives and leaders, on March 17 2015. But will the results of this election actually change Israel’s national security approach? The immediate answer is no, and this is why.

Any new government in Israel has to set up its priorities, particularly on the strategic – military level. The newly elected government – as its predecessor – might be in power for a relatively short time. Nevertheless, Israel’s national security issues would have to be taken care of, as soon as the new government is in office. This requires appointing a cabinet that could hit the ground running, considering the importance of Israel’s national security problems.

Any new government will stick to several principles of Israel’s national security strategy, primarily securing the state and its population. A firm stand might deter Israel’s foes from challenging her militarily. This has been the Israeli policy since the state was established in 1948.
Regarding current issues, any government in Israel will strongly oppose Iran gaining nuclear weapons capability, let alone a nuclear weapon. Israel’s military option i.e. attacking Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, still exists, but due to political and military constraints it is doubtful if Israel strikes Iran.

The international community led by the US, strives to reach an agreement with Iran, rendering it non-threatening. Such an understanding might prevent – among other goals – an Israeli attack on Iran, which might have all kinds of ramifications world powers seek to avoid. Any Israeli government will be well aware of the danger of striking Iran, since it may result in Iran’s Lebanese proxy, the Hezbollah, firing its 100,000 rockets that cover all of Israel. This is one reason why any Israeli government would be reluctant to attack Iran, unless it would be the very last resort. Israel also will not want to get dragged into the Syrian civil war and will try to contain the unrest on the border with Syria in the Golan Heights.

The probability of a peace treaty between Israel and the PA (Palestinian Authority) is quite low, no matter which government runs Israel. The deep disputes between the two sides concerning Jerusalem, the so called “right of return” of Palestinians to any place in the land of Israel, the marking of the borders, the settlements etc. would make it very difficult for any Israeli government to reach an agreement. The split inside both the Israeli and the Palestinian camps is another major obstacle in reaching an accord in the near future.

The tension between Israel and the Hamas in the Gaza Strip could lead to another confrontation, following the previous rounds in December 2008 – January 2009, November 2012 and July – August 2014. Any Israeli government would face public pressure to find once and for all some solution preventing another round with the Hamas. Many in Israel may wish the leaders consider conquering the Gaza Strip and bringing down the Hamas, but such a move might be very costly for Israel, on all levels. Controlling the 1.8 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, taking care of them in a crowded area with crumbling infrastructure while fighting insurgents within that territory, is an awesome task.

The new government in Israel will of course want to keep the peace with both Jordan and Egypt, albeit it has been a cold peace with those two neighbors. Israel could try to improve those relations but its conflict with the Palestinians makes it more complicated. As long as there is no compromise with the Palestinians any Israeli government would have shaky relations with its Arab peace partners. However, even a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians would not make much of a difference due to the economic troubles inside Egypt and Jordan. It is the interest of any government in Israel to help the current Egyptian and Jordanian regimes survive, and helping their struggling economies could go a long way. Nevertheless Jordan might be destabilized and in the worst case the Hashemite kingdom might even end up as a failed state. If this happens the long border Jordan has with Israel might turn into a battlefield between Israel and guerrilla and terror groups. The same might happen on the Egyptian border. However, the worst threat, from Israel’s point of view, would be a possible war between Israel and Egypt.

About the Author
Dr. Ehud Eilam has been dealing and studying Israel’s national security for more than 25 years. He served in the Israeli military and later on he worked for the Israeli Ministry of Defense. He is now a writer and an independent researcher. He has a Ph.D and he had published five books He lives now near Boston, MA. His email: