The Arena | Amir Tibon

Amir Tibon

Haaretz correspondent in Washington D.C. Former foreign affairs correspondent at "Walla News", and a researcher for the "Uvda" investigative television program.

What is the most significant advantage Israeli diplomacy currently enjoys?

The quality of the people working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They are dedicated and caring diplomats, who invest a great deal of effort in improving and strengthening our foreign relations, despite conditions and circumstances which are often far from optimal. This is true for a large and central embassy such as Washington D.C., but also equally true for smaller embassies and consulates in many countries throughout the world.

Photo: Courtesy of the author

What is the greatest disadvantage that Israeli diplomacy suffers from?

There is a widening gap between the image Israel is actively displaying to the world, and the changes it is undergoing. Israel presents itself as a sort of "State of Tel-Aviv", which happens to have a religious extension in Jerusalem. In practice, Israel is more of a "State of Jerusalem", which has a Tel-Aviv extension.

What do you think is the most important opportunity Israeli diplomacy currently has?

We face two major opportunities: the first is a major improvement in relations with many Arab and Muslim states, who seek to grow closer to Israel due to a variety of strategic considerations; the second is the strengthening of ties with Asian and African states, who are interested in deepening technological, economic, and intelligence collaborations.

What is the central challenge and/or threat Israeli diplomacy faces?

It is not necessarily an immediate threat, but I do not think Israel is prepared - neither politically, nor even in terms of public relations - for the possibility that the Palestinian leadership will declare that the Oslo Process has failed, and the Palestinian Authority collapses. This would transform the Israeli occupation of the Territories into a permanent situation, and lead Palestinians living in those areas to demand Israeli citizenship and voting rights for the Knesset. 

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