The processes set forth by the Arab Spring have brought a tremendous amount of change to the Middle East and North Africa region; affecting virtually all countries in the region. Israel is no exception. The country has been approaching the fast-paced wave of social and political change in the Middle East with an eye to its own stability and security. As such, it has largely focused on the short-term instability generated by the Arab Spring and it has to a great extent acted to minimize the security risks resulting from that situation. Israel has invested in boosting its domestic defence as well as in working to preserve its key regional alliances with Jordan and Egypt. This is the case although Israel’s position in the region remains unique, both in socio-economic and political terms, as well as because of its own on-going conflict. The article explores Israeli ‘post-Spring’ assessments of threats and opportunities in the Middle East, focusing specifically on Israeli policies with respect to Syria - a major regional actor that has undergone deep internal transformations - and that serves as a case study to outline the main parameters of the current Israeli policy with respect to the MENA region.
Benedetta Berti is Research Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University, Lecturer at Tel Aviv University, and Kreitman Fellow at Ben Gurion University.