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Israeli Security in a Changing Regional Environment

Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant (IDF, ret.)

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June 14, 2012

The Fifth Annual Zeev Schiff Memorial Lecture on Middle East Security

A "green carpet" is rolling across the Middle East, from the Atlantic coast of North Africa to the borders of India and Russia, retired Israeli Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant warned an audience of policymakers, journalists, and friends and family of the late journalist and Washington Institute fellow Zeev Schiff. The event marked the fifth annual Schiff Memorial Lecture on Israeli National Security.

General Galant,a three-decade veteran of Israel's naval and land forces who served as military secretary to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and head of Southern Command during Operation Cast Lead, predicted that the rising tide of regional unrest has yet to reach its crest. Bashar al-Assad's days as president of Syria are numbered, Galant said, though a protracted Syrian civil conflict lasting many months or even years is both possible and highly dangerous to regional security. He predicted that just as al-Assad is likely the last Alawite president of Syria, so is King Abdullah II likely to be the last Hashemite monarch of an increasingly restive Jordan.

In the face of a region whose peoples and governments seem likely to grow increasingly hostile to Israel, General Galant offered hope that a strong Israeli military could deter conventional aggression. Israel's historic commitment to justice and democratic values, he said, may help create opportunities to advance peace and security as the region continues to change.

The Schiff Memorial Lecture Series

Each year, the Schiff Memorial Lecture Series brings to Washington a distinguished leader from Israel's national security establishment. The series was established by a group of Washington Institute trustees to honor the memory of Zeev Schiff, dean of Israeli security experts, former Haaretz defense editor, and longtime associate of The Washington Institute. Previous Schiff lecturers have included former chiefs of staff Ehud Barak, Moshe Yaalon and Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, and former head of Israeli defense intelligence Amos Yadlin.