By Azriel Bermant, Published in Foreign Policy, March 26, 2021
In 2020, Israel normalized relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco—a major diplomatic achievement. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the help of the Trump administration, claimed much of the credit for the Abraham Accords amid the growth in formal and informal contacts between Israel and the Gulf States over the past five years, driven in large part by shared concerns over the threat posed by Iran. However, Israel’s diplomats have been working quietly behind the scenes for more than 25 years to nurture ties with these states. As Eliav Benjamin, a senior Israeli diplomat, said, “This what people in my profession work for day in and day out.”
This is a far cry from the Israeli experience in the early years following its establishment in 1948, as both Uri Bialer and Emmanuel Navon remind us in two new books evaluating more than 70 years of Israeli diplomatic history. Israel’s policymakers were desperately trying to break the international isolation that was paralyzing the Jewish state in the wake of its traumatic war of independence and the existential threat from the enemies surrounding it.
By Azriel Bermant, Published in The Strategist, 22 March 2021
Israelis will go to the polls on Tuesday for the fourth time in two years, with the future of their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, hanging in the balance. Public opposition to Netanyahu has only intensified in the past year because of his divisive politics and poor management of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet his political survival owes much to the public perception that only he can be trusted when it comes to Israel’s security.
Dr Azriel Bermant
Foreign Policy and International Security Analyst, Historian, Lecturer, Author