Discussing the Middle East. The Med-Or Foundation consolidated its collaboration with Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) through a new, jointly organised event. On Tuesday, at the Foundation headquarters in Rome, INSS and Med-Or researchers and analysts took part in a study workshop dedicated to an in-depth study of the Italian and Israeli points of view on the changes taking place in the Middle East region and the situation in Syria and Lebanon.
- The meeting follows the signing of a memorandum between Med-Or and INSS in March – an important agreement for the former, given the latter’s relevance not only in Israel, as the country’s leading think tank, but also in the entire Middle East region.
The INSS is an Israeli research institute and think tank affiliated with Tel Aviv University, founded in 1977. It conducts research in the many fields that make up security studies and that have an impact on strategic issues related to Israel’s National Security, with a particular focus on the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli security doctrine, arms control, terrorism, low-intensity conflicts and US-Israeli relations.
- Over the years, INSS’ analyses have also extended to China, Russia, Europe and new areas such as the economy, the cyber domain, energy and climate change.
- INSS analysts include academics, strategists and professionals from the government, the armed forces, the diplomatic corps and other relevant sectors.
- Since 2021, the research centre has been headed by Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, economist and former Knesset member.
Who was there. Both Professor Trajtenberg and Med-Or President Marco Minniti were present at the meeting in Rome. Joining them in the works (held under Chatham House rules) were Alfredo Conte, Central Director for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries at the Italian Foreign Ministry; Gianluigi Vassallo, Head of the ministry’s Near East Division; Stefano Ravagnan, the ministry’s Special Envoy for Syria; and Shimon Zvi Mercer-Wood, Director of the Middle East Department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
- During the discussion, points of view emerged on the main events affecting the Middle East region as well as the role played by Iran and the various regional powers, with a particular focus on the evolving situation in Lebanon and Syria, the consequences of which affect the entire region and directly involve Israel and Italy in terms of both security threats and political and economic fallout.
Bolstering the link. Through this collaboration with INSS, Med-Or strengthens its presence and its projection towards a country, Israel, with which there are also historical relations on a political and diplomatic level. The event – the second, since analysts from the two organisations held a seminar in Rome on May 11 with the INSS’ Director of the Advanced Technologies and National Security programme, Liran Antebi – is a further example of the fruitful collaboration initiated to organise events and seminars for mutual study, in Italy and Israel, on themes and issues of common interest relating to foreign, defence and security policy in the enlarged Mediterranean.
- A further conference, dedicated to the impact of artificial intelligence and cyber security, is already scheduled for next autumn…
- … and this cooperation may also give way to the launch of exchange programmes between INSS and Med-Or researchers, as well as the funding of scholarships (provided by Med-Or) to Israeli students for master’s degree courses at Italian universities.
- Finally, the cooperation might lead to the establishment of an annual “working” dialogue between Med-Or and INSS to discuss issues of mutual interest, assess the status of the partnership, and explore new perspectives for cooperation.
The importance of Israel. The country has always been at the centre of the Mediterranean’s political dynamics and boasts strong ties with Italy. That’s why Med-Or deems Israel a fundamental player with which to strengthen collaboration and joint initiatives, especially in the light of the changes taking place in the enlarged Mediterranean region, also due to the war in Ukraine, which has radically altered the area’s security and geopolitical framework.
- For these very reasons, INSS can become a privileged partner for the Med-Or Foundation, so as to strengthen its capacity for study and strategic reflection on the main events taking place at international level.