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IDF Intelligence Directorate warns deterrence eroding

The upheaval over judicial reform and the growing daylight between Israel and the U.S. were cited as reasons for Israel's security decline.

An Israeli Merkava tank pulls back from the Gaza Strip near the border with Israel, Aug. 3, 2014. Photo by Flash90.
An Israeli Merkava tank pulls back from the Gaza Strip near the border with Israel, Aug. 3, 2014. Photo by Flash90.

Israel’s strategic situation has worsened over the past several months, the IDF Intelligence Directorate’s Research Division warns in a recent memo sent to senior military officers and key decision-makers.

The memo, which was delivered to the prime minister, minister of defense and national security adviser, among others, offered several reasons for Israel’s eroding deterrence, including the internal division over judicial reform, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.

The paper speculated that the memo could have been what prompted Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to issue his March 25 warning to halt judicial reform as “the growing rift in our society is penetrating the IDF and security agencies.” The IDF has faced unprecedented threats from reservists who refused to report for duty over judicial reform.

Another reason for perceived Israeli weakness is friction between Jerusalem and Washington. Iran believes this will prevent Israel from carrying out a preemptive strike against its nuclear facilities. The Palestinian Authority is also encouraged and hopes to capitalize in international forums on the divide.

Those in the region who have signed normalization agreements with Israel are concerned by the fraying ties. These include Persian Gulf states, Egypt and Jordan.

“If in the past they moved closer to Israel because of its strong bond with the U.S…. The current rift between the two nations has pushed those same friends toward Iran. This has been evident in the restoration of full diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh (as well as Bahrain), but also in the warm welcome given to Iran’s foreign minister when he arrived in Cairo,” the memo stated, according to Israel Hayom.

The memo said that the assessment that Israel’s position has weakened is shared by all parties in Iran’s anti-Israel axis, as manifested by a series of meetings held by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials.

Iran is likely urging anti-Israel actors to press their perceived advantage to carry out attacks, leading to the attempted cross-border attack from Lebanon a few weeks ago, and increased efforts to carry out terror plots from Judea and Samaria.

The fear is that the continuing internal crisis coupled with outside threats will exacerbate the decline in Israel’s strategic deterrence, Israel Hayom stated.

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