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Who the hell are the Houthis? (November 2, 2023)

עודכן: 19 בנוב׳ 2023

On Tuesday, an unmanned drone was discovered on its way to Eilat. In response, Israel activated its Arrow Defense Missile System for the first time and dispatched fighter jets. The Houthis announced that the drone was theirs, and that they had launched missiles and more drones during the fighting.

Who are the Houthis, and why have they opened hostilities against Israel? The Houthis are a Shiite group that rebelled against Yemen’s government in 2015, claiming that it was friendly to the US and Israel. Since then, it has waged a civil war that turned Yemen into a collapsed state. The Houthis are part of the axis of jihadist groups (including Hamas and Hezbollah) supported by Iran. Moderate Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are fighting the Houthis and their attempt to take over Yemen. Western countries, including the US, are also trying to contribute to the fight against the Houthis by, for example, imposing economic sanctions against them.

The Houthis’ attacks on Israel are yet more proof that we must understand the war against Hamas within its regional context. Israel must not cope alone with the jihadist axis from Iran to Yemen. Israel's security depends on a successful alliance, now, with the group of countries fighting Iran and its militias. This regional and international group has already proven itself in the fight against ISIS, and it is committed to the long and stubborn fight against Islamist jihad in its various manifestations.

The Israeli government must wake up.

The horrific massacre of October 7 evoked sympathy and support from potential allies. We should maintain and expand this support, and not take actions that sabotage it. Thus, for example, when government ministers make statements that prevent Israel's potential allies from cooperating with it, they harm Israel's security. Among other things, the Minister of Finance has called for Israel to violate its commitments under international agreements (transfer of tax money to the Palestinian Authority); the government is not stopping the increased violence of settlers in the West Bank; and a document from the so-called Ministry of Intelligence discussed an occupation of Gaza and a transfer of its entire population.

The government's actions are not coordinated with Israel's current and potential allies, and they endanger Israel's security because they will lead to pressure on Israel to stop fighting even if it has not achieved all its military goals. In addition, they drastically diminish the chance that some international entity will take responsibility for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip at the end of the military operation, and they risk isolating Israel in the campaign against Iran and its affiliates. In this inter-axis war, Israel must cultivate the ongoing support of the moderate axis.

The Day After the War Forum calls on the public to demand that the government act today for Israel's security, at the national, regional, and international levels.

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