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Israel, Boxed In

Jonathan Spyer on Israel’s borders

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Left: An Israeli Merkava tank in the Golan Heights on Nov. 6, 2012. Right: An Israeli woman and children hide in a large concrete pipe during a Palestinian rocket attack on the Israeli town of Netivot on Nov. 12, 2012(AFP/Getty)

Today on Tablet, Jonathan Spyer writes on how the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the civil war in Syria are bringing Israel perilously close to war with its neighbors.

Though civil war has raged in Syria for 20 months, Sunday marked the first time that the conflict spilled over into Israel—and the first direct engagement of Syrian ground forces by the IDF from the Golan Heights since the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Since that year, the border has been one of Israel’s quietest. But this week, in response to mortar shells that hit the religious farming community of Alonei Bashan, Israeli gunners fired a Tammuz missile at Syrian government forces near Bir al-Ajami on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Then, following an additional Syrian mortar shell on Israeli soil on Monday, Israeli tanks targeted the mobile battery that had fired the mortar, injuring two Syrian soldiers.

In the south, this year has seen the highest volume of rocket attacks targeting Israeli communities since Operation Cast Lead in the winter of 2008-2009. Since January 2012, 858 rockets and mortar shells have hit Israel, compared to 676 in 2011, 357 in 2010, and 317 following Cast Lead in 2009. The deterrence gained by the IDF as a result of the operation appears to be diminishing with time, and the presence of a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt is probably also contributing to Hamas’ increased boldness in Gaza.

Check out the whole piece here.

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Israel, Boxed In

Jonathan Spyer on Israel’s borders

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