Ayelet Shaked is a relative newcomer to Israeli politics. Shaked, 40, served as Benjamin Netanyahu’s office manager before breaking with the prime minister and joining Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party in 2012 and then winning election to the Knesset in 2013. Following the 2015 election, Shaked was named Israel’s minister of justice.
Tzipi Livni has been called the most powerful woman in Israel since Golda Meir. Born to a prominent right-wing family, Livni spent several years working for the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, before entering politics.
Israel—at least the largely secular and progressive version of Israel that once captured the world’s imagination—is over. Although that Israel was always in some ways a fantasy, the myth was at least grounded in reality.
In 1996, Ehud Barak, who was then Israel’s foreign minister and would later serve as prime minister, characterized Israel as “a modern and prosperous villa in the middle of the jungle.” Twenty years later, as political turmoil and violence engulf the Middle East, that harsh metaphor captures better than ever the way most Israelis see their country and its place in the region.
When the world focuses on the Arab-Israeli crisis today, the plight of the 4.6 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank gets most of the attention. But another pressing question haunts Israeli politics: the status and future of Israel’s own Arab citizens, who number around 1.7 million and make up around 21 percent of its population.
Soon after Benjamin Netanyahu began his second term as Israel’s prime minister in March 2009, he ordered the country’s military to develop a plan for a unilateral military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Was the feud between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, first over settlements and then over Iran, a watershed? Netanyahu, it is claimed, turned U.S. support of Israel into a partisan issue.
The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has come under unprecedented strains in recent years. U.S. President Barack Obama has openly questioned Riyadh’s value as an ally, accusing it of provoking sectarian conflict in the region.
When Iran makes headlines, it is usually as a result of its conflicts with other countries. Far less attention is paid to Iran’s conflicts with itself, which are still raging nearly 40 years after the revolution that brought forth the Islamic Republic.
The Revolutionary Guards are involved in maintaining domestic order, projecting Iranian influence in the Mideast, and presiding over major business interests. They are poised to take on a bigger role, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh.
Authors: Eliot A. Cohen, Eric S. Edelman, and Ray Takeyh
The nuclear deal that the United States and five other great powers signed with Iran in July 2015 is the final product of a decadelong effort at arms control. That effort included sanctions in an attempt to impede Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapons capability.
Philip Gordon, along with James Dobbins and Jeffrey Martini of RAND, discusses how Syria could decentralize power in order to reduce violence and save lives while the parties work toward a more comprehensive long-term transition.
The Islamic Republic of Iran held another Holocaust cartoon festival this month, inviting the usual despicable cast of characters. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarifassured the New Yorker that although the event would proceed, Iran would ensure that the “people who have preached racial hatred and violence will not be invited.” Evidently, Zarif believes there are Holocaust deniers who do not harbor “racial hatred.”
"In some ways, the pre-Sykes-Picot Middle East is coming back – but without the order imposed by the Ottoman Empire," writes CFR President Richard N. Haass. "And if no basis for a new regional order emerges, the Middle East stands to suffer far worse in the next century than it did in the last."
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »