At the beginning of the year 5774, Israel stands at the brink of an historic period in which significant opportunity is meeting a real capacity to make change. Never in our recent past has Israel faced such a confluence of events that can potentially leap it to new heights of security and prosperity.
First, our immediate enemies and adversaries will be consumed by infighting for the foreseeable future. Their ability to focus on us is minimal. The threat of a conventional military offensive on Israel has dissipated. While we face new challenges along our borders – including a humanitarian crisis in Syria, which is of a global scale – the strategic threat that forced Israel to build a massive military of dozens of armed brigades is simply gone.
Second, Iran and Hezbollah, our arch-enemies, are overstretched and as weak as they have been for a long time. They are involved in a costly war in Syria that compromises their legitimacy and subjects them to growing pressures of the international community. Meanwhile on their internal fronts, Iran’s economy is struggling while Hezbollah is challenged by other factions in Lebanon and repeatedly attacked in its own back yard.
Third, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has never been as free to conclude an agreement with Israel: its interests are now more aligned with Israel’s than ever before, considering recent developments in the Arab world; Hamas is isolated in Gaza for the foreseeable future; the Arab League is dismembered and ineffective; Egypt is consumed with internal issues; and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is finally no longer the defining issue of the Middle East, even among Arabs.
Fourth, Israel’s society is ripe for the major necessary internal adjustments in order to ensure prosperity in the twenty-first century. Many of the oligopolies that controlled Israel’s economy have been compromised, and the macro-economic steps taken by the government are proving futile in addressing acute societal issues. Thus, a new space is emerging for leadership by the Reut Institute, which focuses on strengthening communities and nurturing human capital.
These opportunities reveal themselves at a period when Israel’s executive branch has significant capacity to govern effectively. Mr. Netanyahu and Israel’s parliament are at the beginning of their tenure and looking forward to a minimum of two years of relative political stability, notwithstanding the fact that the government's make-up may change. Such conditions are essential for the kind of military, diplomatic and societal initiatives that can shape Israel’s future. Indeed, within the coming two years, the State of Israel can leap to become one of the world’s leading nations, secure and outstanding in its prosperity.
Reut will focus its efforts on helping Israel to seize this window of opportunity for our society. To that end, we come armed with a broad arsenal of visions, strategies, ideas, knowledge and experience, which we have developed in recent years. We will share them with our legislators and decision-makers in the areas of societal development, national security, the future of Israel’s relations with the Jewish world and Tikkun Olam. Reut’s charter bestows upon us the responsibility to lead on Israel’s toughest challenges. This year, we intend to do just that!