Last week, we dealt with the issue of Iran from the optimistic Iranian point of view. Now we deal with Israel facing the problem of Iran and the consequences of pulling out of Gaza, and we see a whole different outlook. It is the outlook the Children of Israel had when they “raised their eyes and behold! – Egypt was journeying after them, and they were very frightened;” (Exodus 14:10)
It is a state of utter fear and despair.
Yesterday’s Christian Science Monitor News Online dealt with the extension of Iranian power to the Mediterranean from a different point of view from last week’s items in the Sunday Telegraph and Scotland on Sunday, referring to the solidifying of Iran’s ties with Syria, and its solidifying its power over Hizb-Allah as a “Mideast ‘axis’ against the West.”
“’The alliance that is emerging in this part of the world is a creation of Iran,’ says Sami Moubayed, a Syrian political analyst. ‘It wants to bolster its position by allying itself with countries or groups that can temporarily enhance its regional role and influence.’”
The article quotes Israel’s UN envoy Dan Gillerman, “A dark cloud is looming above our region, and it is metastasizing as a result of the statements and actions by leaders of Iran, Syria, and the newly elected government of the Palestinian Authority.”
This is more the way westerners tend to see Iran. There is no mention of the Twelfth Imam coming out of hiding or of the messianic politics of the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad. The entire article is a strategic analysis of the various Moslem and Arab terrorist groups in the region and their ties with Iran and Syria. The Christian Science Monitor has chosen to eschew any religion in viewing threats to its largely secular readership.
Ari Shavit, who is emerging as a contrarian voice as the semi-official mouthpiece of the government, wrote in Friday’s Haaretz magazine section that “We Could Lose the Next War.” His article is an analysis of the views of Knesset member (MK) Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) who is on the sensitive and powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. According to Shavit’s background on Shteinitz’s “his philosophy of parliamentary activism made the committee industrious and energetic. He forced the defense and security establishments to bow, to some degree, to the superiority of the Knesset.”
Yuval Shteinitz’s two big concerns, according to Shavit, are the Egyptian military and the condition of the Israel Air Force. He views Israel’s defense establishment as being a very high quality outfit but arrogant and overweening, and unwilling to subject its ideas to rigorous analysis once they have been adopted. According to Shteinitz the IDF operates in large measure by inertia. In his eyes, it is moving in incorrect and even dangerous directions. He compared the situation to the period before the Yom Kippur War, when he believed the defense establishment led Israel into a situation that endangered the existence of the state and the nation.
In the interview, he illustrated this with the Iraq War, saying that Israel did not have true intelligence about Iraq. Apparently the inner circle of Saddam Hussein had not been penetrated, the Israel government did not know if he had ballistic missiles or even if he had operative chemical weapons. He viewed the Iraq War as a colossal intelligence failure.
Shteinitz argued that the army leads the government and not vice versa. The media also cooperates, by being closely attached and going along with those in uniform. The result is that the discourse on national security is militarized. This process causes the defense establishment to insulate itself within its conventions, self-confidence, and arrogance. He said that, tactically, the IDF and the Shin Bet security service have done wonderfully. But Shteinitz said that Israel is losing in the war against Palestinian terrorism.
“Today no one will say that the Israelis are ‘searing the Palestinians’ consciousness,” Shteinitz said. “We lost the war against Hamas.” He asserted that “if Israel does not change its security policy from the foundations up, it is liable to lose the next war.”
Shavit had trouble with this assertion. He told Shteinitz that this was outside any reasonable context, contradicting the whole discourse on army and security affairs and the accepted assumption is that the era of conventional wars has passed and also that Israel is wildly powerful militarily. This is a view commonly held by many English speaking readers of Haaretz, not to mention many Israelis as well.
To cut to the chase, Shteinitz argued that because of Israel’s small size, it was susceptible to an attack on all of its airfields at once, which would be the reverse of what happened in 1967, when Israel struck all of Egypt’s airfields in a surprise attack under Egypt’s radar. He illustrated his point this way.
“’Today you need a distance of 50 kilometers to operate an airfield. Israel does not have any airfield like that. All our airfields and our air control units and the power stations and the sensitive strategic sites are within a few dozen kilometers of the border. As such, they are vulnerable to surface-to-surface missiles and to long-range rockets, which are liable to knock them out of action and paralyze the Israel Air Force’”
A very pleasant thought to keep in mind as one goes to synagogue for the Sabbath.
Finally, we come to a ynetnews article, “sense of forfeiture near Gaza.” This article details how the Israeli residents of what are now border towns are reacting to the less than energetic response of the IDF to a daily bombardment of Qassam missiles from Arab Gaza which are sapping their morale. The IDF has not taken effective action to stop the bombardments, nor has it done anything to reinforce the homes of the residents in these border towns despite repeated promises to do so. We see in this article the price of the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and of the retreat from Israeli territory there.
“’We are like geese in firing range,’ residents told Israel’s leading newspaper, Yediot Ahronot (ynetnews is owned and operated by Yediot Ahronot). ‘No one cares what’s happening here. No one. The state has abandoned us.’”
This feeling is similar to what residents of Gush Katif felt when the government insisted on destroying their homes and livelihoods, and it is similar to the feeling that is slowly seeping throughout the all Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria slated for destruction by the government over the next two years in its “convergence” plan.
In the book of Exodus, Moses said to the Children of Israel, “Do not fear! Stand fast and see the salvation of the L-rd that He will perform for you today.” (Exodus 14:13)
Will we see such a salvation soon?
Author’s note: The three above referenced stories were received in my e-mail box from IMRA on Friday, 21 April 2006.Powered by Sidelines