Israel's Future: The Time Factor

in Israel Studies Review

A Debate between Efraim Inbar and Ian S. Lustick

Time is on Israel's Side Efraim Inbar

From a realpolitik perspective, the balance of power between Israel and its neighbors is the critical variable in the quest for survival in a bad neighborhood. If Israel’s position is improving over time and the power differential between the Jewish State and its foes is growing, then its capacity to overcome regional security challenges is assured. Moreover, under such circumstances there is less need to make concessions to weaker parties that are in no position to exact a high price from Israel for holding on to important security and national assets such as the Golan Heights, the settlement blocs close to the “Green Line,” the Jordan Rift, and particularly Jerusalem.

With a Bang or a Whimper, Time Is Running Out Ian S. Lustick

Israel’s existence in the Middle East is fundamentally precarious. Twentieth- century Zionism and Israeli statehood is but a brief moment in Jewish history. There is nothing more regular in Jewish history and myth than Jews “returning” to the Land of Israel to build a collective life—nothing more regular, that is, except, for Jews leaving the country and abandoning the project. Abraham came from Mesopotamia, then left for Egypt. Jacob left for Hauran, then returned, then left with his sons for Egypt. The Israelites subsequently left Egypt with Moses and Joshua, and “returned” to the Land. Upper class Jews who did not leave with the Assyrians left with Jeremiah for Babylon, then returned with Ezra and Nehemiah.