From Lebanon to Winograd – Israel’s National Strength Image

The Winograd effect is straying from the limits of the internal Israeli discourse. The committee report influence Israel’s national strength and security image amongst its neighbors in the region and on international willingness to promote political processes during this period.

The Winograd committee was established in light of the failures revealed in the course of the Second Lebanon War. Theoretically, the interim conclusions of the committee are internal issues with consequences for the domestic political system in Israel. In addition, the evidence of the committee that revealed the deficiencies in management and deployment of the war has been interpreted as damaging to Israel's national strength and security image.

In practice, it has been revealed that the "Winograd Effect" has regional and international influence beyond the borders of Israel. This influence can be seen in the complex conceptualization of Israel's national strength and security image by its neighbors as well as in the nature in which Israel's ability to implement political moves is perceived.

  • Amongst actors in the Arab world, Israel's strength image was eroded by the revelation of Israel's failures and exposure of its weak points. Despite this, it appears that Israel's national strength image received a new element. Israel's difference stands out in light of its ability to conduct itself as a democratic country with mechanisms of exposure, correction and adaptation. This difference emphasizes the abilities of the Israeli government which provide it with unique strength in the region and intensify the weakness of its neighbors. (See last week's statements by Nasrallah and various Lebanese columnists below.)

  • The USA sees in the Winograd Effect a sign of erosion in Israel's might. The cancellation of the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's trip last week due to "the political situation" in Israel highlights the Israeli political system perspective that its carrying capacity is currently limited.

  • In contrast to the American stance, the Europeans continue efforts to renew the Olmer-Abbas meetings. The European approach as it stated by the position of Germany, president of the European Union, during the visit and statements of Foreign Minister Steinmeier highlights the continuation of European pressure on Israel. This pressure is intentional due to the relative weakness that the Israeli system is broadcasting following the publication of the interim report.

Sources (in Hebrew)