Gil Lewinsky

Israel’s War Clouds are Growing

It has been a mood that at first was viewed as unthinkable. Afterall Israel is a secure country. It has been 13 years since the Second Lebanon War and with the shrewd diplomacy of Netanyahu the country has largely become as peaceful as some Nordic country in Europe or North America.

However the mood is changing. One sees it in the media and in the streets. Yes the country is still happy and optimistic but it is in the spirit of a bubble based on the last ten years. One hears about far away sorties in Syria and believes we are invisible here. Afterall Syria and its allies have almost never responded.

The geopolitical map of the Middle East is changing and not to Israel’s benefit. While until the last ten years we were fighting the Arab Israeli war, the future conflict is likely to take place with ancient empires that want to reclaim their place of honor rather than with our Arab neighbors. There will be Arab proxies, particularly Hezbollah, but they won’t be the principle actors.

Israel’s political deadlock does not help the situation. Now is not the time of years of political stalemate when our enemies are marching closer and closer toward our doorstep. Whatever Bibi did with Bezeq and cigars, the future well being of the country should come first. If this means a power sharing government, then atleast Israel will have a government again. Perhaps, with many generals as key ministers, important, for such times.

A war is coming. Like an articulate chess game the pieces are moving slowly. One needs to remember that our opponents on the other side: Turkey (under Erdogan) and Iran do not see a Middle East with a Jewish Israel in it. Erdogan’s ideology has similar roots to the Muslim Brotherhood and would rather see an Islamization of Middle Eastern politics. Iran makes no secret of its desire to see Israel destroyed based on a fanatical Shiite ideology.

The United States in this game is retreating.  Perhaps Trump does not understand the rules or simply does not wish to be entangled, fulfilling his campaign promise to not fight in foreign wars. One sees this clearly in how he responded to the unprecedented attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries. “I do not want war”, Trump responded even though an act of war took place in front of his face. Today’s breaking news of him withdrawing US soldiers in Eastern Syria allowing Turkey to conquour parts of Eastern Syria also follows this patter . The fact that Turkey,  Iran, and Russia are in league on this move does not sway him, only a fulfillment of a campaign promise and the saving of money to the American purse. The Kurds are likely to be the main casualty. This said, it brings Turkey closer, alongside its allies, to our borders.

The enemies of Israel are gathering. It is unlikely Trump will protect us more than provide us weapons when the next war hits. Instead of alluding to a false sense of security we need to prepare ourselves for perhaps the worst war to hit us since 1973.  It won’t happen tomorrow or even next month but we will likely live to see this conflict and soon.

About the Author
Born in Israel but raised in Canada, Gil Lewinsky worked as a journalist in Jewish newspapers including the Jerusalem Post after completing a Masters degree at the Munk School of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto. He also has a LLM in International Law from Lancaster University in the UK. His past topics include a book written about the Status of Gaza under International Law soon after its conquest by Hamas in 2007. He is perhaps best known as one of two people that brought a flock of Jacob Sheep from Canada to Israel in 2016, making history. He currently works as a teacher and English public relations professional in Israel.