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.

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This week, Alpher discusses whether we are witnessing the beginning of a new intifada; how Abbas’s UN General Assembly speech figures into the violence; if there was a prominent message in Netanyahu’s UN speech; if it is possible to draw any conclusions regarding the evolution of Israeli societal values from the appointment of Shin Bet deputy head Roni Alsheich to head the Israel Police; and, with the Russians and Iranians apparently expanding their deployment in Syria, an outline of the emerging strategic picture.

 

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September 30, 2015 - The Syrian issue at the UN General Assembly

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This week, Alpher discusses whether there is even the possibility of progress regarding Syria at the UN; how to characterize Putin’s “take” on the region; how this approach contrasts with Obama’s; assuming Russia and the US do not join forces in Syria, what Russia’s military options are; where Israel is in this picture

 

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September 21, 2015 - Netanyahu goes to Moscow while Jerusalem is rocked by mini-intifada

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This week, Alpher discusses how Russia’s military buildup in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia and the consequent American and Israeli concern has this played out since last week; if we are witnessing escalation into a third intifada in Jerusalem and the West Bank; what triggered the escalation; and at the strategic level, what the dangers are for Israel of this “mini-intifada.”

 

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September 13, 2015 - More on Syria: refugees and Russians

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This week, Alpher discusses the pros and cons of Israel taking in refugees from Syria; if there is a Palestinian angle to the Syrian refugee crisis; and what are the potential consequences for Israel of the arrival of Russian military forces in Syria.

 

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This week, Alpher discusses the impact of the Iran nuclear deal on the ongoing chaos in Syria, including diplomatic initiatives; the Saudi role; ambivalence in the US-Turkish approach to Syria; Given Russia's and Iran's apparent willingness to consider compromising on Assad’s rule if the conditions are right, is Assad willing; and where does all this leave Israel.

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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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