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DEFSTRAT Briefing: Theocratic Republic of Israel

Capital: Jerusalem Official Languages: Hebrew, Arabic Government: Theocratic Republic High Priest—Shimon Peres Temple Magistrate—Ehud Olmert Independence: Due to UK-administered League of Nations mandate, 14 May 1948. Population: (2007 estimate) 715,000 (most of the population is human, with small pockets of desert halflings, desert elves, and gnomish communities) Long Term Issues: The Jewish religion— Taiism—recognizes several neighboring states as enemies of the faith (Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen), and Israel has been on bad terms with the Arab (Baalian) nations in general since the modern nation was created in 1948. It is hard to imagine a moderate Temple Magistrate (who holds the true administrative power) in Israel, and indeed none have ever really come to power. DEFSTRAT recognizes the difficulty that a religion-based regime has in making changes that are not only political, but also theological, in nature, and so we hold little hope of the tension involving Israel to decrease in the short to medium term. Militarily, Taiist magitechnology benefits from rich patrons of the faith (also Jewish) based in the eastern USA. This had led to Israel not only being able to defend itself well, but also take the offensive to its neighbors as needed. However, the increase in mana-based inflows into the Arabic economies of the surrounding nations may be able to reduce or even remove the edge that Israel currently holds as a minor superpower in the region. The chief concern over such an event would be the response by Western nations, and the USA in particu-

lar. While the USA and other Western nations have soldiers in Iraq, though, there is sufficient deterrent to keep the major players of the region away from conflict with Israel. Lesser players like Lebanon and Syria, as well as militaristic groups among the Arab general populace, remain the chief concerns to Israeli security. Short Term Issues: The chief issue currently facing Israel is semi-internal, as it deals with a Palestinian state partially controlled by the Baalian Templar group known as Hamas. Currently, control of Palestine is held by Hamas (in the Gaza Strip) and Fatah (in the West Bank); however, the two groups are desperately seeking to control the entire nation outright. Israel has the power to interfere in this issue to a great extent, and would prefer to destabilize Hamas and promote Fatah; however, keeping both parties from gaining any edge may also be an excellent objective, in that it distracts the Palestinian state from focusing on Israel, and it discredits the legitimacy of the Palestinian state within the international community. Baalian Templar groups continue to threaten the border with Lebanon (especially along the Golan Heights), Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the border towns near the Gaza Strip. Contingent suiciders still plague the Jewish populace, despite efforts by Israeli Temple Knights (including The Mossad). Syrian ruler, Amir Bashar al-Hassad, has recently both threatened Israel by massing troops along the border with the Golan Heights, as well as opened up new discourse for closer diplomatic relations. Israel is responding only slowly—understandable given the theological stance that Syrians are enemies of the Faith. DEFSTRAT does not believe that Syria will actually mount an offensive with US soldiers so close at hand.