The seculars among us congratulated the IDF on Wednesday while the religious between us prayed for the army and for the State of Israel, as the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense in response to the unstoppable rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
At times like these, it is customary to stand behind the IDF, praise the military moves and demonstrate unity.
Both the congratulations and the prayers must be joined by hopes that this will be the last round of fire and that Israel's southern residents will enjoy years of peace once the operation ends. But this is likely a false illusion.
Wednesday's operation is just another chapter in the book of bloodshed, the beginning of which we no longer remember and the end of which we still can't see. It's an endless war: Once in the north, once in the center, and now – for several years – in the south.
The operation launched on Wednesday was almost inevitable. The prime minister, the defense minister, the chief of staff, government ministers and officials are all aware of the grim state of affairs: Hamas has presented the State of Israel and the great IDF stark naked, helpless, unable to respond and losing almost its entire deterrence ability.
A life-seeking country cannot afford such a situation. Even a prime minister and defense minister, especially on the eve of elections, cannot imagine being presented as weak and perplexed.
In the defense of the prime minister, defense minister, chief of staff and many others, it should be noted that they managed to create a strategic surprise when it had seemed that they had already missed the chance for a proper military response. Apparently even in days of media clatter from all over, and when it seems that all military secrets are rolling around the street, a major surprise can still be created for both friends and foes.
Ahmed Jabari was the victim this time. The operation launched on Wednesday is a summary of intelligence collection worthy of all praise and admiration: For months, the Shin Bet (headed by Yoram Cohen) and IDF intelligence officials (led by Major-General Aviv Kochavi) collected detail after detail, one piece of information added to another, in order to take advantage of the opportunity and target missile caches, some of which can reach Tel Aviv's cultural hall and even northern areas.
Collecting information on the location of long-range missiles was even more important than locating Hamas' military chief. The threat to fire missiles at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area has yet to be removed, but every missile destroyed in Gaza on Wednesday means fewer casualties in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and in Israel as a whole.
It is yet to be seen how Operation Pillar of Defense will end, whether it will only take a few more hours, a few more days, or even more. It could definitely be expanded into a ground offensive, and we may witness terror attacks. In any event, neither Pillar of Defense nor any other military campaign will solve the difficult problem called the Gaza Strip and the terror organizations which have found and are still finding shelter there.
There was never, there is no and there will be no military solution for the abscess called the Gaza Strip. If we fail to find the road to a peace agreement, many more of us will still participate in Pillar of Defense 2, Pillar of Defense 3, and so on.