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2017 Annual Assessment

The disruption of the existing international order and the possibility that a new order will emerge presents Israel with both challenges and opportunities. For example, certain American-Russian understandings could limit Israel’s maneuverability with respect to some issues and, at the same time, favor Israeli interests with respect to others. In a world where nationalistic and isolationist trends seem to be on the rise, the impulse to intervene in Israel’s affairs could diminish. On the other hand, this might also weaken the inclination to come to Israel’s aid in times of need. The growing influence of nationalism over cosmopolitanism could lead to greater acceptance in the West of Israel’s predicament: a state seeking to maintain and assert its Jewish national identity.

  • Israel should encourage those voices within the administration that call for the United States to reaffirm and fulfill its role as leader of the free world. America’s focusing on domestic affairs while neglecting its global leadership role, in general and in the Middle East in particular, could harm Israel and erode the might and deterrent power attributed to it.
  • Israel should encourage Washington to continue taking a leading role in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A lack of American leadership would create a vacuum for other international actors, who are not as sympathetic to Israel, to fill.
  • Developing relations with the rising non-Western powers (China, Russia, India) should proceed with care and transparency vis-a-vis the United States. Israel’s diplomatic moves should be undertaken with the fundamental understanding that there is no alternative to its strategic alliance with Washington.
  • Israel should increase its investment in cutting edge science and developing new technologies. In a world in which these fields are highly regarded and rewarded, Israel has the potential for significant achievements. Alongside the economic benefits, realizing this potential will strengthen Israel’s “soft power” in the West (and in the world writ large) and reinforce Israel’s image as the “startup nation.”