Hard Questions, Tough Answers

Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

August 31, 2015 - The Israel Police and the future of “internal” security

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This week, Alpher discusses why a huge controversy has erupted over the appointment of former IDF brigadier general, Gal Hirsch, to head the Israel Police; the legacy of the 2006 Second Lebanon War; what justifies rehabilitating Hirsch and promoting him by two ranks and why can’t the police produce a suitable commander from within its own ranks; where the security consultancy industry enters the picture; the future role of the police vis-a-vis the Palestinian issue and Israel’s security;

 

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August 24, 2015 - Ehud Barak, Iran, PIJ and Israel’s response

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This week, Alpher discusses why Ehud Barak made his dramatic remarks about attacking Iran and why he made them now; if there are potential strategic ramifications, or if this is merely one more case of a frustrated ex-politician sounding off; whether last week’s rocket attacks on Israel from the Syrian Golan and Israel’s response suggest the possibility of imminent escalation of hostilities between Iranian proxies and Israel, and if the timing bespeaks a link to the Iran nuclear deal; actions that are perceived by Palestinians as Israeli provocations, which have resulted recently in increased instances of stone-throwing and fire-bombing against Israeli vehicles and knife attacks on IDF soldiers.

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August 17, 2015 - Israel, the Iran deal and Diaspora Jewry

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This week, Alpher discusses the mixed messages we seem to be getting from Israel regarding the Iran deal with Netanyahu and even Herzog and Livni vociferously opposing it, and many in the security and academic establishments either equivocating or supporting it; the views of the Israeli majority on the Iran deal; why Israeli political opposition leaders Herzog and Livni seemingly support Netanyahu’s campaign in Congress; and how to explain Netanyahu’s appointment last week of a prominent right-wing Italian Jewess as Israel’s ambassador to that country.

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August 10, 2015 - Europe and Israel: between shared interests and the threat of sanctions

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This week, Alpher discusses the European Union and Israel's shared issues and interests that mitigate against tensions on Israel regarding the settlements and the peace process including energy, illegal immigration, and intelligence; how European Jewish immigration to Israel affects Israeli-European ties; where the Greek financial crisis fits in; and what happens if EU economic sanctions against Israel because of the Palestinian issue grow stronger and even develop into political and cultural sanctions; where this leaves the European-Israeli relationship and what Israel should do about it.

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August 3, 2015 - Ten years to the Gaza withdrawal

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This week, Alpher discusses why Israel’s unilateral withdrawal of settlements and troops from the Gaza Strip ten years ago didn’t produce additional withdrawals from the West Bank as well and generate some sort of positive momentum toward resolution of the conflict; if Sharon and Olmert had different approaches to the idea of independent withdrawal; the settler movement’s response to the Gaza withdrawal; how Sharon envisioned the settlement project, and what made him adopt the extreme measure of unilateral withdrawal; Labor leader Isaac Herzog on the withdrawal and negotiating a West Bank withdrawal; and a cost-benefit analysis of a possible IDF withdrawal on the West Bank.

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July 27, 2015 - Immediate regional repercussions of the Iran nuclear deal

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This week, Alpher discusses ramifications of the Iran nuclear deal for US-Israel relations, as well as regionally; Israel’s relations with Jordan and Saudi Arabia; how Turkey has exploited the momentum of the Iran nuclear deal; and at this time, two weeks past the conclusion in Vienna of the Iran nuclear agreement with the international community, who is gaining and who is losing in the Middle East.

 

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July 20, 2015 - The Iran nuclear deal and its aftermath

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This week, Alpher sums up the Iran nuclear deal, discussing additional pros and cons for Israel; the most important criterion for Israel in addressing the Iran nuclear agreement; what should be on the agenda for Israeli-American talks regarding security assurances; and given the discussed rationales for Israel to line up behind the Iran deal, what still concerns him about the deal and its aftermath.

 

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July 13, 2015 - The Iran nuclear deal; Israelis who entered Gaza

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This week, Alpher discusses what are the issues that bear the most intense scrutiny regarding the upcoming nuclear deal with Iran; why is there a commotion in Israel over two Israelis that decided of their own free will to cross the border into the Gaza Strip; how could they have entered unhindered? What was the reason that that the authorities initially acted indifferently to Mengistu’s flight in terms of their contacts with his family? And what will happen now?

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July 06, 2015 - The growing Sunni Islamist threat

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This week, Alpher discusses the strategic significance for Israel of last week’s sweeping Islamist attacks on Egyptian army installations in Sinai, near the border with Israel; the regional implications, shared by Israel with some of its neighbors and with Europe, Russia and the United States; defines Israel’s dilemma in strategic terms, and what the ramifications are; how West Bank-based Hamas and lone-wolf terrorism affect Israel’s relations with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas; and what this portends for the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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June 29, 2015 - Gaza

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This week, Alpher discusses the key dynamics from Israel’s standpoint of the ten-year anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from the Strip and a low-key interception and thwarting by Israel of a flotilla trying to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza; regarding the publication of a UN report on human rights aspects of last summer’s Gaza war, whether there is anything that Israel can constructively build on as it looks to future conflicts; whether it made sense that the Netanyahu government refused to cooperate with the Human Rights Commission and refused to allow the latest flotilla to approach the Gaza coast; and why the Gaza Strip is relatively quiet, with Hamas seemingly collaborating with Israel by pursuing the occasional more extreme Islamists who fire isolated rockets at Israel.

 

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