It's a story Israelis are familiar with: Whenever the new Middle East takes shape, the old one emerges to challenge it. The Oslo days of the gay 1990s, heralding a historic reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, were quickly marred by the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist opposed to the peace deal, followed by a long list of Palestinian suicide bombings and stabbings that left hundreds of Israelis dead and maimed. The vision of a new Middle East espoused by one of the architects of the Oslo peace agreements, the late prime minister and President Shimon Peres, was crushed. A quarter century on, Israelis with long memories are experiencing deja vu. Will Islamist terrorism once again undermine a historic peace process between Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbors in the region?
On March 22, a member of Israel’s Bedouin community and avowed supporter of the Islamic State organization went on a rampage in the southern Negev Desert town of Beersheba, killing four Israelis. Five days later, as the foreign ministers of Israel, the United States, UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt met at a luxury hotel near the hut that Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion called home, two men embarked on a shooting spree along a busy thoroughfare in the central Israeli town of Hadera. They killed two police officers, grabbed their weapons and wounded at least seven others until being shot dead by undercover police officers who happened to be dining nearby. These killers also turned out to be Israeli citizens affiliated with IS.