Israel Is Walling Itself In, Literally


Israel announced this week that it plans to build a fence on its Syrian border for security purposes. That makes perfect sense, given that Syria is in the midst of a horrific civil war whose ripple effect is fraught with uncertainty.

But picture Israel: soon to raise a security fence in the north, which will take shape as the completion nears of the barrier separating Israel from the Palestinian territories. And then there is the Iron Dome, offering protection from incoming rockets.

The Jewish State appears to be walling itself in and hunkering down.

Understandable, and certainly commendable from a security point of view. But so sad. The reality of the region is such that Israel is surrounded by hostile parties, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, openly committed to its destruction, as well as Egypt in political chaos and Syria in violent warfare.

Feeling vulnerable, with no one to negotiate with, Israel has chosen a form of self-protective isolation, as if waiting out the troubles. But there is no assurance they will end anytime soon and the surrounding states aren’t going away.

The government in Jerusalem may be creating barriers from reality as well as from hostile neighbors.

Will physical protection offer comfort and normalization, or a heightened and fall sense of security?

was editor and publisher of The Jewish Week from 1993 to 2019. Follow him at