In the wake of the recent military campaign in the Gaza Strip, it is only natural to draw comparisons between Pillar of Defense
and its previous version from 2008, Cast Lead.
The objectives remain the same: Security calm, quietude for Israel's
southern population and an increased power of deterrence for Israel, all hopefully achieved without Cast Lead's bungle or another Goldstone-style report.
Yet former Military Intelligence chief Brigadier-General (Res.) Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, who completed his service in 2006, is not an advocate for such comparisons. In an interview to Calcalist, he explains that similarities aside, there are new powers at be which are changing the geopolitical picture.
Following his retirement from the Israel Defense Forces, Farkash founded FST21– a startup company which develops security systems for apartment buildings, in which he serves as CEO. From his seat in the business world, he now foresees how Israel's defense needs will take a mounting toll on the economy – and us.
"Until 12-18 months, Israel's economic situation was favorable as compared to the global crisis," he explains. "But in the past two years, several things occurred, such as the events in the Gaza Strip, growing concerns that Sinai will become a breeding ground for terrorism and that chemical weapons in Syria
will make their way into irresponsible hands, and of course the Iranian issue, all which drive Israel into precipitous expenditures that will eventually fall on the shoulders of the citizens and the business sector," Farkash told Calcalist.
"Were the Gaza challenge is an isolated and single concern, the impact on the economy would be minimal and easy to overcome. The challenge of dealing with Hamas
would not have driven us into such a deep crisis, but the sum of things adds up to immense economic costs," he said.
"If you take into account the eurozone's current instability and the fact that the global economy has not regained its footing after the 2007-2008 crisis, you've got a series of elements that could result in economic instability that might call for more radical steps than in the past."
Farkash has an interesting take on the Iranian threat as well. "After the old guard leadership was replaced in Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Libya, accessibility to the world's largest energy supply is gradually being cut off, and this creates concerns and fear on the global markets that oil reserves are in real danger.
strategic need to be a regional super power that influences events in South Asia and the Middle East and to obtain nuclear weapons in order to control oil states which have weak armies, such as Bahrain or Saudi Arabia – these are events that can dramatically impact world economy.
"I believe that one of the reasons why the Iranian threat finally hit home in the US and the West was the understanding that all world economies might be drastically affected if Iran dictates the agenda in South Asia and the Middle East by force of its nuclear capability.
"We haven't hit the critical point yet and I hope that the US holds true to its promise not to allow Iran to achieve nuclear capabilities in the event that economic sanctions won't bring its plan to a halt or at least to a standstill for several years."
This interview was originally published in Hebrew