Israel’s security reading of recent regional developments and its foreign policy towards the attendant and emerging strategic challenges
Since 2011, geo-strategic interactions have exerted pressure on various political communities. In particular, uncertainty over the foreign policy intentions of new leadership elites and the nature of the unfolding regional security system in the Middle East have impacted the strategic questions Israel must answer: how can Israel rationally assess the new environment? What foreign policy approach would best serve Israel’s distinct national interests? Using insights from the levels-of-analysis framework and from the realist theory of International Relations, this article aims to explore Israel’s reading of recent regional developments and its attitudes and behaviours towards the attendant and emerging strategic challenges. The analysis reveals that the Arab Spring uprisings exacerbated the already anarchic Middle East environment, aggravating mistrust and antagonism in Israel. The urgency of the attraction of protectionism and militarism in Israel was an expression of the realist approach to Israel’s primary strategic consolidation. With time, the regional dynamic has evolved into a more predictable—but still complex—structure than it was during its early phase (2010–2013). Although there have been signs of potential regional political eruptions, other developments have promoted continuity in the Middle East, which plays to Israel’s strategic advantage.
Keywords: Israel, security, foreign policy, Arab Spring, Arab-Israeli conflict, Middle East, militarism, Palestine, regional order, regional security, Hamas, realism
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