Israel is being held hostage by its flawed wait-and-see mentality

Israel is being held hostage by its flawed wait-and-see mentality SECURITY FORCES are on the scene in the Druze village of Hurfeish in the Upper Galilee after a drone attack.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that we are on our way to restoring security to our borders and safety to our citizens who reside in either the Gaza envelope or in Israel’s North, the Galilee, and the Golan.

Our soldiers have been not only heroic, but also quite effective in the Swords of Iron campaign in Gaza. We have adapted brilliantly to the demands not only of urban conflict, but also of tunnel conflict.

Our initial success in securing the release of more than 100 hostages was purely a function of overwhelming military might and success. However, since that accomplishment, we have allowed ourselves to be bogged down, delayed, distracted, and pummeled by international voices.

Ironically, that fear of the reaction of the world community has been felt at least as much, if not more, in the North than in Gaza. For reasons that range from American reaction to IDF capabilities, we have tolerated a state of affairs that is a disgrace to the Zionist dream, and a stain on the idea that Israel is projecting sovereignty so as to protect its citizens.

In 1982, rocket attacks on Kiryat Shmona, then the largest town in the Galilee and now a small city, were the pretext for the invasion of Lebanon. Today, Kiryat Shmona, like most of its surrounding communities, is largely abandoned, and those who still insist on staying must confront almost daily rocketing, and increasingly now, fires in the adjoining hillsides.

IDF soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip, June 9, 2024 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

There have been until just recently only obligatory statements of empathy for the plight of residents, whether they are relocated escapees or stalwart hangers on.

It has been a national situation of “just don’t look over there, it will get you depressed.”

Hezbollah is most certainly calling the shots, as it were, and setting the agenda. We have been largely reactive, though at a certain point it no longer matters. We are involved in tit for tat playground shoving where each side wants to throw its weight around, but to do so within bounds.

There’s the problem with that. It has replaced a security buffer zone in southern Lebanon with a security buffer zone in northern Israel.

Like spectators at the movies, we are engaging in the willful suspension of disbelief, meaning that we are forgetting that Hezbollah possesses massive armories of drones, rockets, and missiles, many quite sophisticated and precise, which can be unleashed by them at their momentary discretion.

Each side knows the other could attack more forcefully, and for the time being does not seek to do so for their own reasons. But in a conflict between a side that is a fiduciary for its citizens and a foe that basically is unaccountable to its people, the advantage inevitably goes to the latter.

Hezbollah is very content for us to be discouraged, depleted and demoralized. This is, of course, a form of victory, producing a mindset that can be exploited for further future gains.

Hezbollah need only look at the situation in Gaza to see that the Israeli resolve to win, meaning to forcefully dismantle Hamas, thereby securing the release of the rest of the hostages, is dissipating. Increasingly Israelis are reverting to a mindset that would pay any price to get the hostages released, as if this was the be all and end all of the conflict.

This state of affairs puts the onus squarely on Israel to change it. Everyone knows that right now we are just once again kicking the can down the road, awaiting a true day of reckoning.

Heaven forbid that that day of reckoning is chosen by Hezbollah. Given the weapons at their disposal, the first strike damage that they could inflict might be horrific.

The embarrassment of senior Israeli military officials

It is embarrassing to read how our senior military people talking about how we are getting closer to reaching a decision on what to do in the North. All that tells us is that they are enmeshed in a wait and see mindset.

For my part, first of all, please don’t share your thinking with us. We don’t need to know. We don’t want to know, because if we know, Hezbollah knows. Hezbollah is already talking about the possibility of an IDF attack in mid-June.

How would they know except for the public dithering and hand-wringing of our leaders. Remember preemption? Remember surprise? This is the lesson of the Six Day War.

Remember reactiveness? This is the lesson of the Yom Kippur War. It is no great challenge to decide which path to pursue.

The Israeli people are strong and resilient. They are willing to sacrifice to protect their country and their way of life. Our young people are breathtakingly heroic and eager to defend and protect their homeland.

They want to secure the future for themselves and for the families they have recently started or are busily contemplating. They see in this country a magnificent adventure and they see in themselves the guardians and stewards of that adventure.

That is our recompense in all of this. We owe it to our youth, our up and coming leaders, to stiffen our spines and to do what needs to be done – on our own terms – to assure their future.

The writer is chairman of the board of Im Tirtzu and a director of the Israel Independence Fund.

  • https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/other/israel-is-being-held-hostage-by-its-flawed-wait-and-see-mentality/ar-BB1nTg2e?ocid=00000000

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