The Crisis over the Downed Russian Plane

By Amos Yadlin


September 25, 2018

Israel and Russia are not enemies and there's no reason for a confrontation between them. Russia knows perfectly well that Israel strikes in Syria only because of the Iranian activity. The S-300 delivery to Syria doesn't change the strategic balance. No air defense system is impregnable or indestructible. Israel has F-35s which were designed with exactly such systems in mind.

A Russian-operated S-400 system has been in Syria for years, never launching against Israel or U.S. aircraft. If Syrian crews operate the S-300, Israel will know how to hit it. Russian air defense systems' reputation will take a hit.

Bottom line: Israel may well be more cautious in some marginal cases. Faced with a dilemma whether to let an Iranian threat grow next door and taking a higher tactical risk and some inconvenience with Russia, its leaders will not sit on their hands watching.