Israel and, more importantly, Israelis, demonstrated consistent unease over the destabilizing consequences of the war in Syria, an anxiety stemming from self-interested security concerns [ranging from DAASH to Hezbollah] and genuine humanitarian revulsion toward the carnage at their doorstep.
A memo written this week by former Israeli National Security Advisors Yaakov Amidror and Eran Lerman gives a good glimpse into what Israel’s security establishment really thinks about Syria. Here’s what they said:
1) The continuation of the Syrian civil war poses a threat to Jordan and thus to Israel.
2) DAASH feeds off of the sectarian conflict in Syria, and chaos there makes al-Nusra look like moderates compared to what DAASH leader Al-Baghdadi and his followers have on offer.
3) Expanded operational territory for Hezbollah fighters is problematic.
4) Ultimately, Israel’s borders are more secure when state actors are on the other side — instead of terror groups.
Concrete signs of this policy are documented in the consistent Israeli lobbying for increased U.S. allocations to help Jordan deal with the Syrian refugees. Israel is concerned that these refugees neither starve in Jordan during the short term, nor settle there in the long term. It’s clearly not in Israel’s interest that an additional million radicalized Sunnis show up in Jordan.
Jacob Wirtschafter, “Israel Wary of Continued Conflict in Syria”, Jewish Journal (1-7 January 2015), 15.