While Syria's 40-year Assad regime has fought multiple conflicts with Israel, it has also been a stable neighbor – making Israelis uneasy about the prospects of Islamists gaining power next door.
As regional efforts to mediate Lebanon's political standoff fail, Israelis nervously watch their border with Lebanon and wonder whether potential violence will spread to Israel.
Israeli military inquiry looked into the May 31 Gaza flotilla raid by Israeli navy commandos and found, despite operational mistakes, there was no wrongdoing or negligence. Nine Turkish activists died in the raid.
The Libya-sponsored Almathea is the latest of several attempts to break Israel's Gaza blockade since a fatal raid killed nine pro-Palestinian activists on May 31.
Tensions between Israel and Palestinians continued to rise Wednesday, following Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to add two West Bank sites to its national heritage list.
The saber-rattling between Israel and Lebanon – which Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman extended to Syria – has created an atmosphere similar to the one that preceded Israel's 1982 invasion.
Israeli troops moved deeper into Gaza City Sunday and pounded Rafah from the air. Hamas rejected plans for international peacekeepers in Gaza.