November 30, 2023

The conflict in Gaza has presented a new challenge to Israel as it faces an inactive front in the Southeast for the first time. Ansar Allah, also known as the Houthis, launched cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and UAVs towards Israel, all of which were successfully intercepted. On November 19, Ansar Allah announced the seizure of a cargo vessel belonging to a British company in the Red Sea. The ship was carrying approximately 25 crew members of diverse nationalities, and was purportedly chartered by an Israeli entrepreneur.

The Houthis have expressed their commitment to ongoing operations against Israel, including an official declaration of war. They possess advanced military equipment and have received an abundance of weaponry and missiles from Iran. Their capabilities include ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, with effective ranges that can reach targets in Israel.

To effectively prepare against an adversary, it is crucial to assess two primary factors: intention and capability. Israel should not disregard the Houthis’ threat, and taking preemptive military action against them is advisable to prevent their future strengthening. It is essential to recognize that the threat from Ansar Allah cannot be underestimated.

A military operation against the Houthis is necessary to diminish their capabilities and prevent the acquisition of advanced weaponry. Israel can leverage such an attack to bolster its position concerning Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, particularly given the ongoing tensions in the region.

Israel must recognize that safeguarding its citizens’ security requires a more assertive stance against threats, which may entail deploying greater military force than it has traditionally employed in recent decades. The writer, with a PhD in political studies, is a military strategy and national security expert, and a researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security and the Israel Defense and Security Forum.