October 31, 2011
By Rana Tahir '13
Israel is surrounded by an ever-changing, and therefore, from an Israeli perspective, an increasingly dangerous dilemma as the Arab Spring and Iranian threat expand, according to Yaakov Katz, a journalist with the Jerusalem Post.
Katz, military correspondent and defense analyst for the Post, came to Knox College on October 24 to host two lectures on Israeli foreign policy from an Israeli point of view.
Born and raised in Chicago, Katz (shown in photo above while speaking to Knox students) moved to Israel in 1993, serving in the Israel Defense Forces Armored Corps before he earned a law degree from Bar Ilan University.
Both of Katz's lectures drew a crowd of Knox College faculty and students, along with other Galesburg residents.
The first lecture was titled "Changing Middle East -- An Arab Spring or Winter for Israel?" In it, Katz looked at possible outcomes of the recent Arab revolts, specifically in Egypt, and what they could mean for Israel.
"The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know," Katz said about possible new governments in the Middle East.
For Israel, Katz noted, two main objectives in preparing for possible hostilities are keeping a competitive military edge and investing in conventional war training. For the first, Israel needs to focus on gathering more sophisticated weaponry, he said. As for the second point, Katz explained that the second Lebanon War in 2006 displayed how "rusty" Israel was in conventional war tactics, because it had been focusing on counterterrorism for years.
His second talk was titled "Israel and Iran -- Can Israel Live with a Nuclear Iran?" Katz discussed the threat of Iran's nuclear program being used for weapons, which he called the "greatest existential threat Israel has faced in history."
Iran, Katz said, is not only a threat to Israel, but to the rest of the world.
His first book, Israel vs. Iran -- The Shadow War, was published in Israel in the spring, and it will be published in the United States in January 2012.
Katz's appearance on the Knox College campus was sponsored by the Department of Political Science and International Relations and funded by the Israel Education Center, an organization that connects students in Illinois to Israel.