ISRAEL Insights


Israel’s National Security Minister Puts Country’s Security at Risk

January 28, 2023

The match Ben Gvir is lighting won’t stop at Jerusalem’s borders, the fires will quickly spread to the West Bank where the situation is already volatile between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israeli settlers, Palestinian militias, and the Palestinian Authority. Ultimately the flames will also spread to Gaza as well.

Instead of his reckless approach, smart management of such a complex and multidimensional reality in a place like Jerusalem requires a more comprehensive view and in-depth consideration. Dealing effectively and constructively with ongoing tension in Jerusalem that has ongoing potential to boil over requires several elements:

  • A laser-focused policy addressing security challenges (criminal or terrorist) in such a way that there will be a minimal impact on those who haven’t committed any crime.
  • Identifying, isolating, and neutralizing hot spots or issues that have the potential to flare up.
  • Maintaining ongoing and practical direct contact and open dialogue with community leaders in Arab Jerusalem neighborhoods in order to improve and expand service infrastructure for the residents.
  • Maintaining constant contact with Jewish and Arab community leaders along the seamline neighborhoods with the aim of creating a framework of pragmatic dialogue that will allow the leadership on both sides to maintain a normal routine of life in situations of tension or outbreaks of violence.

These tactics, which I employed to during the first and second intifadas, helped to cool tensions and restore calm, and will likely work again if employed now.


January 3, 2023

What Israel’s Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir’s quick visit to the Temple Mount on Tuesday is counterproductive to Israel’s strategic and security interests. The visit plays into the hands of those opposing normalization, those criticizing Israel’s allies in the region, and provides the perfect distraction for Iran at a time when it is trying to divert world attention from its brutal suppression of domestic protestors.

For the Palestinian Authority (PA) already going through its own power struggle, the trip – seen as a provocation by Israelis against the Muslim-control over the Al-Aqsa compound – is inflaming tensions with both moderate and more radical Palestinians who criticize the PA’s strategic choice of diplomacy over armed conflict and what they perceive as a loss of the power to deter Israeli provocations through the threat of violence.

With the trip being directly against the publicly reported wishes of Netanyahu, many in Israel and abroad question his ability to reign in more right-wing influences within his coalition.

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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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