Outgoing NSC Head: Israel’s Strategic Balance Is Relatively Positive

National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

​The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, chaired by MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), convened on Wednesday and heard a briefing from Dr. Eyal Hulata, outgoing head of the National Security Council. In the briefing, Dr. Hulata presented to the committee members Israel’s national security balance as of the end of 2022 and the situation assessment for 2023, and the basis for formulating policy alternatives as presented to the Prime Minister and to Dr. Hulata’s successor in the post of National Security Council head, Tzachi Hanegbi.

Within the classified meeting, the following points were presented in the briefing:

  • Destabilization of the international order, ongoing confrontations and erosion of international frameworks continued and increased in 2022, are continuing into 2023 as well, and will continue to affect Israel;
  • An Iran free of nuclear weapons is the supreme Israeli interest from a national security aspect, and this has been the case for many years. There are many reasons for the decrease in the likelihood of a return to the nuclear agreement, among them the constructive dialogue conducted between Israel and the United States;
  • Israel’s value as an asset in the region continues to grow, in economic-civil contexts and not only security contexts. This will also affect the regional opportunities available to Israel. The National Security Council has worked, and continues to work, to invest the Abraham Accords with content and turn them into a broad economic reality, along with the attempt to expand them;
  • Israel always faces a challenging security reality, but the situation at present is volatile. A flare-up in the Palestinian theater means a decrease in the ability to pay attention to other theaters;
  • The security and sense of security of the state’s citizens currently ranks higher in the list of interests, as part of the change in reality caused by the events of Operation Guardian of the Walls in Israel;
  • The climate crisis is establishing itself as a factor that shapes national security, among other things on issues such as energy stability, food stability, migration crises and population movements. Israel’s neighbors in the region are less prepared to confront the issue than Israel.

At the request of the committee members, Dr. Hulata presented the policy directive passed by the Political-Security Cabinet on different issues, and the dilemmas that arose before decisions were made on each issue. In this context, Dr. Hulata listed the range of considerations that Israel examines continuously in its relations with key states around the world.

In conclusion, Committee Chair MK Edelstein and the committee members thanked Dr. Hulata for his briefing, and for his 23 years of service in the Mossad and the 18-month period in which he served as National Security Advisor and head of the National Security Council.

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