Eitan Haber
Photo: Shalom Bar Tal
The Arabs became Jewish
Op-ed: Our foes learned the lessons of past defeats; next war could be tougher than ever
More than 10 years ago, I wrote something about “the Arabs becoming Jewish – and the Jews becoming Arab.” This prompted a great outcry, both from the Jews and from the Arabs. Both sides claimed they were gravely insulted. Yet today, with great caution, I assert that my statement back then was accurate.


All signs indicate that after 63 years of bloodshed, the Arab states around us learned all the possible lessons in the areas of deterrence, early warning and victory; today, they wisely combine diplomatic activity with military preparations.


Israel’s policy over the years was premised on deterrence. Should deterrence fail, we had early warning. And if this fails, heaven forbid, we possess military force that can bring victory. So what did our enemies do? They learned our survival formula, and now they are teaching us, the hard way.


On the deterrence front, our foes get very high marks. We can try to come up with elaborate excuses, but these days the State of Israel is deterred both on the diplomatic and legal fronts, while justly fearing economic deterrence as well.


On the diplomatic front, not too long ago Israel mulled harsh retaliation in Gaza following the terror offensive in the south, but refrained from doing so following an unequivocal message from Egypt. As to legal deterrence, there are no top officials here either in our political leadership or in the IDF who wish to test the International Court of Justice in The Hague.


As to the economic front, dozens of Israeli companies are active abroad via fictitious branches, without noting the products’ origin and certainly without any Hebrew words on the package.


Our situation on the early warning front isn’t much better. Once upon a time, the militaries around us needed a relatively long time in order to undertake preparations that could not be hidden. This enabled the IDF to prepare as well. However, after they learned the lesson, enemy armies chose to equip themselves with missiles, in order to hinder or neutralize the IDF’s early warning capabilities.


Missile war

Somewhere near Damascus, on the banks of Lebanon’s Litani River, or in Rafah’s alleyways, someone shall press a button, and this will let Israel know that it’s under a missile offensive. Large quantities of arms are pouring in from Iran via Sudan to the Sinai and to Gaza, and to Lebanon via Damascus. Syria’s missile arsenal is among the largest in the world.


We should know that the arms available in the states around us are highly advanced. Most of them are American-made and innovative. The US uses these weapons to maintain the militaries around us, thinking that this way it also maintains control of the states.


On the victory front, Arab armies learned how to thwart the cornerstone of Israel’s policy, whose basic premise was asserted by Ben-Gurion: Transferring the war to enemy territory immediately.


Yet should a missile war take place around here, our ability to destroy armored brigades would be of little value. The number of home front victims and the great destruction shall determine the winner in such war.


Meanwhile, our foes are trying to undermine the IDF’s ground warfare capabilities by equipping their forces with highly advanced anti-tank weapons and underground facilities. The Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon are one big tunnel.


The conclusion is as follows: Should a war break out, heaven forbid, it may be longer than we ever experienced and may take place on our own soil. As noted above, the Arabs are trying to be Jewish, and may succeed in doing so.


On a final note, this article is not meant to sow fear in any way and should not be attributed to the current fight to cut the defense budget. I just wanted you to be aware of the issues.



פרסום ראשון: 10.24.11, 18:33
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