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2017 Annual Assessment

The disruption of the established world order and the possibility that a new order will coalesce presents challenges but also opportunities for Israel:

  • In a world in which nationalist and isolationist tendencies seem to be on the rise, the inclination to intervene in Israel’s affairs could diminish. On the other hand, this development may also erode 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 position: a state seeking to maintain and assert its Jewish national identity.
  • It is reasonable to assume that the relationship with the American administration will strengthen and maybe even become a force multiplier for improving relations between Israel and key countries in the Middle East.
  • If the United States begins to favor a realpolitik foreign policy of “American interests” over the current American commitment to a clear moral vision of the world, it could decide not to support Israel on issues that it deems to be in contradiction with its material interests.
  • The U.S. focus on domestic issues while neglecting its role as global leader, especially in the Middle East (continuing the Obama Doctrine), would harm Israel and even erode its deterrent force.
  • American-Russian understandings could limit Israel’s maneuvering room. At the same time, an American-Russian or American-Chinese conflict could generate new risks and dilemmas for Israel.
  • Presently, it is difficult to assess how the emerging international reality will influence the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At this stage, the U.S. continues to take a leading role in achieving a settlement; however, only time will tell if Washington will maintain its leadership role or relinquish it to other actors.
  • In a world that increasingly relies on scientific and technological innovation, Israel has the potential for significant achievements. In addition to the economic benefits, meeting this potential will strengthen Israel’s “soft power” in the West (and in the world generally) and strengthen Israel’s image as the “Start-up Nation.”
  • Cutting-edge technologies could help close the qualitative gap between Israel and its enemies, who could equip themselves with advanced arms that do not require a special infrastructure of quality education and training (which is required today to operate an advanced military force).