The Strategic Importance of Jerusalem Efraim Inbar and Major General (res.) Gershon Hacohen JISS, Oct. 31, 2017
This memorandum analyzes Jerusalem’s importance from a strategic security perspective and its contribution to the survival of the Jewish state. 1 Jewish control of the hilltops in the Jerusalem area has major strategic implications for the security of the coastal strip and for designing a defensible border for Israel in the east along the Jordan River. Ideas about dividing Jerusalem or allowing Arab control in parts of the Greater Jerusalem area not only weaken Israeli sovereignty and compromise Jerusalem’s status as the capital of the Jewish state but also jeopardize Israel’s future. Greater Jerusalem is an Archimedean point for controlling and maintaining security in the Land of Israel west of the Jordan.
Vital Strategic Depth
Over 60 percent of Israel’s Jewish residents live in the coastal strip between Hadera and Rehovot. This narrow strip is an extremely dense urban area by any international standard. Its narrowest width, between Netanya and Tulkarem, is only 15 kilometers. This strip is dominated from the east by the slopes of the mountains of Samaria and Judea. Along with the dense population concentration, many strategic assets are located in this narrow strip—for example, Ben-Gurion Airport, Ashdod Port, power stations, banking headquarters, arrays of computerized databases, vital military bases, and the main headquarters of all the security branches—the IDF, the Mossad, and the General Security Service (Shin Bet).
These vital assets are observable from the slopes of the mountains that overlook the plain from the east, particularly the mountains of Samaria, and also are within the range of short-range rockets (less than 40 kilometers). Within this range, these targets are also easily accessible to incursions by motorized commando forces and even infantry units.
Even in the context of modern warfare, the value and indispensability of territorial depth as a basic condition for defensive warfare are undeniable. General Aharon Yariv defined strategic depth as “the space between the forward-most front line at which a state can maintain military forces for its defense without impinging on another state’s sovereignty, and its vital territory.” 2 He added that gauging strategic depth needs to consider the ratio between the length of the front line and the size of the territory that must be defended.
According to this definition, the Israeli territory within the narrow coastal strip lacks strategic depth and conditions for defensive warfare. The problematic ratio between the length and the width of this strip points to the operational distress in attempting to defend the coastal plain from 1967 borders. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Jerusalem Day 2020: Examining the City’s Developing Ecosystem Tobias Siegel Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2020
On Friday, Israelis will celebrate “Jerusalem Day,” marking 53 years since the city’s reunification in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. This year, Start-Up Nation Central, in partnership with the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Ministry for Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, is sharing insights and data about the unique technological ecosystem which came about in the capital of Israel and the role that the Jerusalem ecosystem is playing in the global fight against COVID-19.
Jerusalem is usually thought of as a city with a rich history and culture, comprised of old neighborhoods, narrow passageways, and exotic fragrances. One might not expect that alongside its rich history and culture, Jerusalem has evolved in recent years and has become a magnet for entrepreneurial activity and cutting-edge innovation.
According to Start-Up Nation Central, there are currently 405 active companies in the Jerusalem ecosystem, a 102% growth since 2012. In 2019 alone, $233.5M were invested in Jerusalem-based companies and start-ups, a 21% increase from the year prior.
While most Jerusalem-based companies are considered “small-medium” with 92% of them having under 50 employees, many of Israel’s largest tech exits originated in Jerusalem. The best example of this is Intel’s acquisition of the Jerusalem-based company Mobileye for $15 billion.
“This proves there are ecosystems developed outside of Israel’s Center that can function, prosper, and be part of the economic growth in Israel’s periphery,” says Wendy Singer, Executive Director at Start-Up Nation Central.
There are several factors that help prosper a culture of innovation and success in Jerusalem. First, is the city’s diverse population – secular and religious, Jews and non-Jews, men and women, Israeli-born and new immigrants. Diversity and inclusion are two values highly cherished by technology companies around the world, understanding that the more diverse team a team is, the more diverse ideas are conceived. It should come as no surprise that diverse companies perform better. Drawing on the city’s diverse demographic makeup, there has been a movement to train and integrate the Israeli Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities into the tech sector, thereby creating an innovative model being studied by foundations and governments in other countries. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Puzzling Subterranean Chambers Discovered at Jerusalem’s Western Wall Ancient Origins, May 20, 2020
Three 2,000-year-old subterranean chambers have been found by students excavating at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The actual purpose of these underground rooms is perplexing archaeologists.
Jerusalem’s Old City, with its 30 centuries of historical significance for three of the world’s major religions, has revealed many artifact-loaded archaeological layers since the mid-19th century. In recent years, excavations at the Ophel Archeological Garden below the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount represent 2,500 years of Jerusalem’s history in “25 layers of ruins” from the structures of successive rulers, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The ancient staircase and the Hulda Gate, through which worshippers entered the Second Temple compound, and the ruins of the 7th-century Muslim period royal palaces are among the city’s archaeological treasures. The City of David Archeological Park has the ancient city’s main water source, Gihon Springs, and the remains of Canaanite and Israelite citadels too. And now the first subterranean living space has been discovered.
Painstakingly Hand Hewn in Solid Bedrock
Chiseled by hand out of solid bedrock with tools including iron hammers, the new archaeological site is located near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. Dating to a time before the city’s fall in 70 AD, the purpose of a subterranean complex of three rooms remains unclear. However, Israeli archaeologists do know that the underground spaces were created in the Second Temple-era and the complex is called “the first evidence of everyday life gone underground in Jerusalem,” in a JPost article.
Co-directors of the Israel Antiquity Authority (IAA), Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehila Sadiel, said in a press release on Tuesday that this “unique finding” was made by students of a pre-military preparatory program working in cooperation with the IAA. This is the first time a subterranean system has been uncovered adjacent to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, but they are at a loss trying to explain why such great architectural efforts and investment of resources had been expended in hewing three underground rooms in hard bedrock. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Will Israel Apply Sovereignty to Parts of Judea and Samaria? Israel Kasnett JNS, May 21, 2020
Israel finally has a new government after three elections and more than a year of political stalemate. As it gets to work dealing with the calamitous effects of COVID-19, one of the main questions now is whether or not it will set in motion the Trump Mideast peace plan, which includes negotiating with the Palestinians and applying Israeli law to the Jordan Valley, and parts of Judea and Samaria. In his speech before the swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset on Sunday, Netanyahu said, “It’s time to apply the Israeli law and write another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism.”
But real concerns exist about Israel going forward with this plan amid warnings from the European Union and from elements in the United States during a presidential election year, in addition to uncertainty regarding an investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Security and Strategy, told JNS that he believes Israel will implement the plan. Regarding the Jordan Valley, Inbar said the details in the Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan “makes it clear it is important for our security and removes from the table all suggestions for alternative security arrangements that are not good for us.”
With regard to some of the language and terminologies circulating around the plan, Inbar said it is important to understand that, contrary to popular belief, this would not be a unilateral move on Israel’s part. Since America backs it, such a move cannot and should not be considered unilateral.
He added that it is also important not to use the word “sovereignty,” but rather “applying Israeli law” when referring to the Israeli plan to take control of the Jordan Valley, and other parts of Judea and Samaria. This is because, according to him, these areas never formally belonged to a high sovereign state, and as such, one cannot annex or apply sovereignty to an area that did not and does not belong to another high sovereign entity. “The plan has to be accepted with all the components, and Israel should not accept or implement one or ignore the others.”
Judea and Samaria, also known internationally as the West Bank, has been under Israeli control since the 1967 Six-Day War. Aside from the important security aspects of the region for Israel, it also is considered the “Jewish Heartland,” featuring many important Jewish heritage and biblical sites dating back thousands of years. Between 1949 and 1967, the territory was illegally occupied by Jordan—a move that was only recognized by the United Kingdom, Iraq, and Pakistan. Prior to that, the territory had been part of the larger British Mandate of Palestine that had been established by the League of Nations to administer former parts of the defunct Ottoman Empire, which had controlled much of the Middle East since the 16th century. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:
WATCH: Jerusalem Day Special: The City of David From Above, 1967-2020: YouTube, May 21, 2020 — This Jerusalem Day, experience Biblical Jerusalem like never before from one of the most strategic spots above the city. From high atop the Biblical city we will take you on a journey from 1967 till today and the incredible events that have shaped the history of the ancient, old, and modern-day capital of the Jewish people.
1 in 10 Israelis Now Call Jerusalem Home: Zeev Klein and Hili Yacobi-Handelsman, JNS, May 20, 2020 — Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, is also the nation’s most populous city, with 924,800 residents, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of Jerusalem Day 2020.
Israel’s Potential Annexation in West Bank: What Will the Kremlin Do?: Daniel Rakov, The Russia File, May 21, 2020 — The Kremlin might soon encounter a dilemma: how to react if Israel moves ahead to impose Israeli sovereignty on parts of a territory that Israel commonly refers to by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria, and most of the rest of the world calls the West Bank.
Due to technical problems, this week’s French-language will be available online today later than usual. A reminder and link will be provided in Monday’s briefing. Interested readers are directed to isranet.org later in the day to access it.
CIJR wishes our friends and supporters Shabbat Shalom, and chag sameach!