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Former IDF Chief of Staff Ya’alon: Gulf states are aware of Israel’s technological power

At the conference held Tuesday by Cybertech and Israel Defense, former IDF Chief of Staff Bogie Ya’alon spoke about Israel’s ties with the Gulf states, and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Giora Eiland warned that a third Lebanon war could happen 

A special conference was held yesterday to mark the publication of the second book by Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori, “The Geopolitics of the New Middle East”. The conference was held by Cybertech and the Israel Defense website. The conference brought together current and former senior figures such as ones from the defense establishment including Lieut. Gen. (Ret.) Bogie Ya’alon, Gen. (Ret) Giora Eiland, and former deputy Defense Minister Dalia Rabin, as well as entrepreneur Yossi Vardi and other senior figures.

During the conference, Ya’alon provided a fascinating description of the region’s recent history that laid the groundwork for his analysis of Israel’s strategic situation. Among other things, Ya’alon claimed, while the monarchies in the Middle East remained stable, all of the “imaginary” states collapsed. These countries were formed by the Europeans who came to the Middle East after the fall of the Ottoman empire.

Ya’alon also said that Israel’s technological developments constitute, among other things, a basis for diplomatic relations. These developments include ones in high-tech, cyber, defense, agriculture and more. According to Ya’alon, the surrounding countries, including the Gulf states, want to be close to Israel due to the value that can be generated from it. “There are common interests and common threats,” he said. “The Sunni regimes in our region are aware of our soft power.”

Another speaker was Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Giora Eiland, who formerly served as head of the National Security Council and head of the IDF’s operations branch. “The most substantial threat to the security of the State of Israel is the Hezbollah organization (supported by Iran), said Eiland.

“There is a perception in Israel that Lebanon is divided into the good and the bad, but the Lebanese elite and the Shiite Hezbollah formed an alliance. The good and the bad are dividing up the pie among themselves. The big mistake that Israel made in the Second Lebanon War in 2006 was to separate between Hezbollah and Lebanon. In the Third Lebanon War, which unfortunately could happen, the same mistake should not be repeated. No one in the world is interested in the collapse of Lebanon, and therefore the West will demand a quick ceasefire and arrangement.”

Eiland said that he is less optimistic than others in Israel regarding the effect of official diplomatic relations with Arab countries in the region against the Iranian axis. “If the Saudis feel that that their production of oil is in danger, they may prefer to turn to Iran that is threatening them, not to Israel or the United States.”

In conclusion, Eiland said that the changing of the government in Israel and the end of the latest round of fighting with Hamas in Gaza without achievements may create an opportunity for a stable solution vis-à-vis the Palestinians in Gaza. “The Israeli conception was that the world doesn’t change. But now an opportunity to change this conception has been created.”