A retired Major General in the IDF, Uzi Dayan twice served as National Security Advisor to Israeli Prime Ministers. This week, Dayan sat down with Arutz Sheva to discuss the threats – and opportunities – Israel faces in an increasingly unstable Middle East, as well as the prospects for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli final status agreement.
The two greatest challenges, Dayan argues, are effectively combating terrorism, and the Iranian nuclear program.
"If you don't fight terrorism effectively, you leave the key to any progress, to any solution in the hands of some terrorist," said Dayan. “The second challenge is the nuclearization of Iran. That is unfinished business,” he warned.
To properly confront these threats, Israel must preserve what he described as the nation’s three “strategic assets” – Jerusalem, defensible borders, and internal unity.
"We are in the midst of a regional war in the Middle East. We are not really a part of it, but it poses a big threat to Israel. What we have to do today is not give up on our strategic assets."
"There are three [strategic assets]. One of them is Jerusalem, which is not only the Israeli capital, it is the capital of the Jewish people."
"The second one is defensible borders. We have one in the Golan Heights, another in the Sinai desert because it’s demilitarized. And in Judea and Samaria, the eastern border should be the Jordan River and the [surrounding] hills. It has to be a defensible border, because we need strategic depth. We need to be ready to fight against a conventional attack from the outside, and we need to be able to control the envelope to be effective in fighting terrorism."
"The third strategic asset of Israel is our unity. The cohesion of Israeli society and the unity of Israeli society and the Jewish people. When I was the National Security adviser for two Prime Ministers, I was often asked what is the most important strategic asset. I would say it's not the Merkava Mark V, or the F-16i - which is now the F-35i - it is the cohesion of the Jewish people. We are strong enough to fulfill these missions. We are actually stronger than before, and everything is collapsing around us. What we need more than everything today, is unity with the different [worldwide] Jewish communities."
"People who come to visit Israel, people who stay here, sometimes for military service or to study in an Israeli university - it's much more than donating something. It actually contributes to Jewish unity and to the cohesion of the different Jewish communities."
Nor Partner For Peace
"I devoted 50 years of my life not only to security, but to find a solution - a full agreement with the Palestinians. I don't see partner for a full agreement. No Palestinian today will go and sign a paper that will [constitute] an end to the war, [with] no more [Palestinian] claims, because they want much more than we can offer, and when they look around they see the international community in many cases actually supports the Palestinians."
"The Israel-Palestinian conflict is not the root of all evil. What they see - the Palestinians - is that more and more Arab states are dealing with more important issues than the Palestinian issue. So I think that time is working on our side, if we will continue to defend ourselves and to build our Jewish democratic state everywhere.”