Summer of Discontent

This summer is proving to be a penultimate one for Israel’s neighbors as they struggle through free elections, popular uprisings, and crippling sanctions. Egypt has narrowed down the choice for its next President to two figures, one a former regime official, and the other is representing the Muslim Brotherhood. Neither one can be considered a friend of Israel, but neither one has said they would abandon the peace treaty with Israel. Whatever happens in the election, we can expect relations between Egypt and Israel to either remain the same or slightly deteriorate. The Egyptians certainly do not want war with Israel, but they look at the peace treaty as an unfortunate relic of the previous dictatorship and as something that needs reviewing and revising.

Sanctions against Iran are causing great hardship for the regime, but it does not look like sanctions will abate any time soon. While Iran has shown some recent willingness to negotiate, they appear to be stalling for time as they have not agreed to any reductions in nuclear enrichment or in allowing inspectors in to monitor their nuclear facilities. While military actions are not imminent, every day that goes by without Iranian capitulation increases the chance of a military strike. Both Israel and the United States have developed plans to attack Iran, but both agree that the sanctions option has not been exhausted.

Syria continues to commit almost daily massacres of its own citizens, with no end in sight. Western powers have very little leverage as they have taken the military option off the table. Israel, at first, did not want to criticize Syria too directly, so as not to create an atmosphere where the Syrian leadership could accuse the opposition of having Zionist support. But now Israel has joined the chorus of nations seeking the removal of the autocratic regime in Syria.

Israel is in a very serious predicament as the regional instability has unknown consequences. Support for the Jewish state remains as vital as ever.

I welcome any and all feedback.

Matt Goldberg
Community Relations Director
(502) 238-2707

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