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2018 Annual Assessment

Over the past year, Israel’s strategic balance improved slightly, however the overall uncertainty surrounding Israel’s geopolitical situation remains evident. Israel is militarily and economically powerful, and there are no conventional military threats at the moment. Israel’s deterrence remains strong and it continues to develop new relationships with regional actors. U.S.- Israel relations are at an all-time high, and Jerusalem continues to forge a close working relationship with Moscow. However, potential violent confrontations loom on Israel’s strategic horizon, with hostile actors like Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas, and perhaps the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.

Thus, despite substantial strategic gains (such as the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the transfer of its embassy there, the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA Nuclear Agreement with Iran, the positive coordination with Moscow with regard to Syria, and more), the past year presented no turning point in Israel’s fundamental strategic challenges: security threats (such as Iran’s nuclear program, Hezbollah, and Hamas), and the political, security, demographic and moral challenges posed by the absence of a solution to the Palestinian issue. Therefore, we move the dial slightly in the positive direction, but note that any of the above-mentioned challenges could shift it back relatively quickly.

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