Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror and Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman for BESA Center-Bar-Ilan University (Dec 27):
- Israel has a strategic interest in, and long-standing commitment to, the safety, security, stability and prosperity of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In current times, the relationship is buttressed by a broad-ranging series of cooperative ventures in the strategic, security, diplomatic, economic and energy fields.
- The stability and prosperity of Jordan has been a central element of Israeli national security policy for three generations. In 1958, David Ben-Gurion facilitated steps taken by the West to help the Kingdom resist the pressures of Nasserist radicals. In 1970, Golda Meir – in close coordination with the U.S. – was willing to risk war in order to compel Soviet-backed Syrian forces to reverse their invasion of Jordan. (This move was successful).
- Similarly, Yitzhak Shamir reached understandings with King Hussein during the Desert Storm crisis of 1990-1991, despite Jordan’s ambivalent position towards Iraq at the time. The peace treaty with Jordan of 1994, under Yitzhak Rabin’s leadership, brought into broad daylight what already had been an enduring relationship.
- A persistent and profound recognition of mutual interests (and mutual enemies) has led both countries – regardless of who has been in power in Israel at any given time – to seek strategic understandings and remove causes of tension.
- Israeli assistance to Jordan – above all, helping Jordan cope in recent years with the immense influx of Syrian refugees – remains crucial. Significant segments of Israeli society are aware of, and engaged in meeting, this challenge. Several Israeli NGOs as well as youth movements are playing a role – never overt, but still symbolically significant – in providing elementary support for the more-than-one-million Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror is former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister. Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman is former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at the National Security Council.