Yesterday’s exchange of missile and air attacks between Iranian forces stationed in Syria and Israel was the most violent and overt exchange so far between them in their “secret war”. In this shadowy conflict, Tehran is making strenuous efforts to consolidate its military foothold in Syria, gained by being the military savior—along with Russia and with proxy Shiite militias—of the Assad regime, into a permanent presence. The Islamic Republic also hopes to improve its strategic capabilities there, especially surface-to-surface missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and air defense. Israel is determined to prevent such an eventuality: Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, it has carried out, without taking credit until the last few weeks, over one hundred airstrikes against the Hezbollah and Iranian strategic capabilities in Syria.
I’m an Israeli, a Zionist and an orthodox Jew. I admit—I am conflicted about the Trump administration’s plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And I shouldn’t be. There is no question that this is a long overdue step. But the timing, and the potential for harsh reactions which may harm U.S., and perhaps even Israeli, interests, while promoting those of our enemies, is problematical.