-- February 2, 2012- 200,000 Missiles Pointed At Israel? The Implications of the Egyptian Soccer Tragedy

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

February 2, 2012- 200,000 Missiles Pointed At Israel? The Implications of the Egyptian Soccer Tragedy

Today marked the close of the Herziliya Conference; and annual gathering that brings together leading members of the government, academia and the business world to look at problems facing Israel and the Middle East. It was the place were Ariel Sharon unveiled his disengagement plan for the first time. This year's conference was dominated by discussion of Iran and the missile threat which Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran jointly present for Israel. The head of Israeli Military Intelligence helpfully shared with the assembly that at any given time there were 200,000 missiles aimed at Israel. Of course, who am I to argue with the head of Military Intelligence. However, I can say the impression he has left is a little problematic. When I hear the statement that 200,000 missiles are aimed at Israel, I imagine 200,0000 missiles on launch pads ready to strike Israel at any time. In reality, while the number is no doubt frighteningly high, the actual number of missile launchers that are available is probably in the thousands (if that high). The Intelligence head was referring to the total inventory of missiles that all of are enemies pocess together. On the other side of the spectrum, the Vice Prime Minister (and the person I hold responsible for the state of the IDF in the second Lebanon War) confidently announced that Israel has the capability of destroying all of Iran's nuclear sites.

Much of the news today focused on the tragedy in Egypt last night. 73 people died in a melee following a soccer game. Unfortunately, the events are not merely a local tragedy. They reflect two larger more important trends. First, the chaos was a result of the anarchy that exists in Egyptian society today. There are no police on the streets and there were no police in the stadium. There is simply no one running civil society in Egypt. Second, and probably worse, however, is that the deaths seem to represent an even greater breakdown in what has always been a very hierarchical Eyptian society. Over the past few years there have been strikes, protests and a complete pushback against the strict hierarchy that run Egyptian civil society. The uprising that brought an end Mubark rule's is just one expression of that change. Unfortunately, its very difficult to reestablish a new order when the order in a very hierarchical society breaks down.

It did not rain in Tel Aviv today. Having lived in this city for a mere four months, I was wondering whether the rainy winter we were having was normal. Last week friends of mine who have been living in Israel for decades said they do not remember a winter that was as cold or rainy. Well, yesterday it became official. This past January was the wettest January in Israel's history. Rain fell in Israel 29 out to 31 days.

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