April 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Sees a Future of Multi-Front Conflicts

April 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Sees a Future of Multi-Front Conflicts

Latest Developments

Israel faces a future of armed conflicts unfolding on multiple fronts, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on April 20, as Iran steps up efforts to foment Palestinian terrorism in sync with cross-border attacks by its proxies in Syria and Lebanon. “We are at the end of the era of limited conflicts, and at the beginning of a new security era in which there may be a real threat across all sectors and at any given time,” Gallant told reporters in a briefing ahead of Israel’s 75th Independence Day, which will take place next week. The coming celebration follows a flare-up in Iranian-orchestrated violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, southern Lebanon, and Syria.

Expert Analysis

“We are seeing a sneak preview of Iran’s campaign to turn Israel into a ‘Seoul on the Med’ by surrounding it with conventional threats. The goal is to provide both a distraction from Tehran’s nuclear designs and deterrence against taking action to stop its nuclear advances. The Iranians want Israel and its allies to repeat the same fear and fecklessness that characterize the international community’s dealing with North Korea because of Pyongyang’s ability to rain artillery down on the South Korean capital at will.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The Iranian axis is growing in terms of both reach and capabilities. Despite Israel’s best efforts to contain the regime and its proxies through military and other means, Tehran is a tenacious foe. It has placed military hardware and personnel on nearly every one of Israel’s borders, with longer range weapons posing additional threats. There was never a good time to ease international economic and pressure on Iran — but now is a terrible time to let up. The right response to Iranian aggression is increased resolve.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

Iranian Funding of Terrorist Groups

The dominant Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which fell out of favor with Iran after taking sides against the Assad regime at the beginning of the Syrian civil war, has seen its fortunes improve, Gallant said: It now receives around $100 million annually from Tehran, while the smaller Palestinian Islamic Jihad group receives tens of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, the Iranians are funneling $700 million annually and military know-how to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Gallant said, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to allied militias in Syria. Tehran also spends billions of dollars to prop up the Assad regime.

An Emboldened Tehran

“The increasing dependence [of proxies] on Iran leads them to step over the boundaries and become more brazen,” Gallant said, adding that in the first quarter of 2023 Israel doubled the rate of its preemptive military strikes in Syria. He described Iran as galloping ahead with its nuclear program on the assumption that the West lacks the means and motivation to stop it. While “Israel is active against Iran’s proxies, Iran is strengthening economically and militarily, which gives them room for action,” he said. Gallant asserted that this must “keep the world and Israel up at night.”

Related Analysis

Halevi’s Horizon: What Awaits the New Israeli Defense Chief of Staff,” by Jacob Nagel and Jonathan Schanzer

Wars of the Jewish state,” by Clifford D. May


Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Jihadism Palestinian Politics Syria