Better relations with Saudi. What Mahmoud Abbas really wants. And the threat raised by "Hezbollastan".
These were some of the subjects covered by this year's Herzliya conference, organised by the Israeli Institute for Policy and Strategy. The event has an ongoing remit of supporting the "formation of a grand strategy for Israel and the region". This year it took as its theme “Israel’s strategic balance: opportunities and risks”: here's a quick roundup of some of the key ideas covered.
1. Israel should make sweet with Arab Sunni states
Gilad Arden, public security minister of Israel, said that there was an “historic opportunity to create a new coalition between Israel, other western countries and the Arab-Sunni states based on common interests”.
The alliance was brought up repeatedly during the conference. Moshe Ya’alon, former Israeli minister of defence, claimed that “the phrase Israel-Arab conflict isn’t relevant any more” as Israel was no longer in conflict with the Arab Sunni camp.
Herzi HaLevi, chief of the IDF military intelligence directorate, said that the “mutual interests between Israel and the pragmatic Sunni state have substantially grown”.
The remarks all echoed a press conference given by US Secretary of Defence James Mattis in April, when he said that the alliance between Washington and Israel is “the cornerstone of a wider, regional, security architecture that includes cooperation with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi and our partners in the Gulf".
2. Saudi, come visit Israel
Several senior Israeli ministers, including Israel's defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called on Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to establish full diplomatic relations with the state.
Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz asked Salman to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Riyadh and, in return, send newly appointed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Tel Aviv.
"We saw what a wonderful host you can be... when President Trump was there," said Katz, referring to the US presidential visit in May.