Israel’s Naval Power Critical for Future Security

Last updated on November 5th, 2020

Israel’s naval power more important than ever before as military and economic threat environment changes.

Israeli Navy ship
(Photo: IDF/Creative Commons)

The Israeli Navy, once a minor part of the IDF’s military machine, is becoming a vital force. As the regional arena swiftly changes, Israel’s naval power is now crucial as the country faces a rapidly changing threat environment.

The IDF’s expanding fleet offers Israel greater strategic depth to compensate for its small size, according to an analysis by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Most critically, Iran’s quest to surround Israel with missiles places the Navy in a unique position to provide an added layer of military capabilities. The IDF’s vessels are a mobile, powerful force that can operate dependently from events on Israel’s home front.

Moreover, Israel now faces hostile forces or potential rivals with increasingly powerful navies. Turkey and Egypt are dramatically expanding their naval strength, and Russia’s deployment in the Mediterranean poses further complications.

Israel’s new economic assets

Economically, Israel’s key interests are increasingly linked to the maritime arena. In the East Mediterranean, Turkish aggression threatens Israel’s plans for an energy partnership with European allies. Closer to home, Israel’s gas rigs are a prime targets for Hezbollah.

A recent article warned that Hezbollah boosted its naval capabilities. Most alarmingly, the group has a larger arsenal of advanced land-to-sea missiles. Moreover, Hezbollah improved its vessel detection system, upgraded its naval commando force, and can deploy drones and high-speed boats.

And while old threats grow, new ones emerge. Israel is now aiming to become a hub for shipping and storing oil, as peace deals present new opportunities. But a partnership between Israel and Gulf states could make the Red Sea a focal point of friction with Iran.

Beyond the latest developments, Israel is highly dependent on sea routes for imports, in times of peace and war.

The IDF is already investing more heavily in naval assets, including the acquisition of advanced submarines and corvettes. But given the growing challenges, the army will have to significantly boost its naval power to secure Israel’s most vital interests.