The coming year is likely to be one of uncertainty ‎as Israel tries to walk the extremely fine line ‎between the highly volatile potential on all fronts ‎and the Israel Defense Forces’ clear superiority and ability to ‎generate deterrence.‎

Ostensibly, Israel has to strive to avoid a wide ‎scale conflict in 2019. This should be ‎doable as each foe, in every sector, currently has ‎far more pressing issues to deal with: Syria is reeling from the ‎bloody, seven-year civil war; Hezbollah is knee-deep ‎in financial problems and the internal Lebanese ‎political turmoil; Hamas is trying to improve the ‎dire economic situation in the Gaza Strip; and the ‎Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is focused on ‎trying to make heads or tails of the impending post-Mahmoud Abbas era. ‎

Add to that Israel’s military power, and one can ‎understand why Israel’s enemies are wary of ‎confrontation. Still, logic does not always prevail ‎in the Middle East, and each sector harbors a ‎significant chance of experiencing a rapid ‎escalation, especially as all are under the menacing ‎specter of Iran, which is trying to increase its ‎regional influence.‎

This means that the Israeli challenge will be first, ‎to avoid war; second, to win a war should one erupt; ‎and third, and perhaps most important, to both ‎prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in ‎Syria and stop Hezbollah’s armament efforts in ‎Lebanon, especially with respect to the Shi’ite ‎terrorist group’s precision-missile program.‎

Israel will also have to carefully navigate its ‎policy in Gaza to ensure the desperation there does ‎not worsen, and equal prudence will be required in ‎the West Bank, where fighting terrorism while ‎minimizing the infringement on the civilian ‎Palestinian population’s routine is crucial to ‎preventing another intifada. ‎

Israel will have to do all of this while contending ‎with complex geostrategic conditions, especially ‎given U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull ‎American troops from Syria and the subsequent ‎increase in Russia’s regional power. ‎

This would require not only diplomatically ‎navigating the complex equation between ‎Washington and Moscow, but also fostering closer ‎ties with the moderate Sunni axis, which, in turn, ‎is likely to increase friction with rogue states, ‎including Turkey. ‎

This fine line between opportunity and risk is one ‎Israel will have to walk alone, and it will have ‎only itself to count on, diplomatically and ‎militarily. ‎

All this will take place against the backdrop of ‎what is expected to be a challenging year for Israel ‎regardless. The election campaign is already proving ‎to be a stormy one, and it is unlikely it would refrain ‎from dragging the IDF into it. The new IDF chief of ‎staff, Aviv Kochavi, slated to take office in mid-January, will ‎have to maneuver between all the external and ‎internal threats and challenges, including the ‎questions raised about the army’s war readiness, ‎the need to formulate a multiyear budget, ‎to the personnel crisis brewing in the military’s ‎regular and standing ranks.‎

Defense and security issues will continue to ‎dominate the political and public agenda in 2019, on ‎every level. The good news is that chances of war ‎are slim. The bad news is that, given the regional ‎upheaval, no security assessment can be taken for ‎granted.‎

Yoav Limor is a veteran Israeli journalist and columnist for Israel Hayom.