A Single Minded Folly

Israel’s approach to almost all issues of consequence in politics vis-a-vis our neighbors, close and far is presently characterized by a total absence of creativity. Policy options are kept to a minimum of two (at best) – attack or not. Anything beyond is considered superfluous. More than three options and we are talking about flights of fancy. Creativity is reserved solely for the execution of the policy – here the Jewish genius will work overtime: Will we use guided missiles launched from submarines or will fighter bombers attack at low level from the rear ? Will the blow be delivered by UAVs or will commando teams rappel down from helicopters, place and detonate charges and disappear into thin air? Will the target be destroyed? Will the enemy be taught a lesson? That’s our approach to the neighborhood. We live in a neighborhood of enemies. Not people, enemies.

If it is Iran or Syria, Egypt in Sinai, the Palestinian Authority or Hamas in Gaza, all the tools we have at our disposal are hammers and all we see is nails. And we keep telling ourselves that we live in a world of hammers and nails. And we never stop to reflect if that really is true.

Are the Iranians really keen on bombing us to smithereens or are we just trying to prevent another nation from becoming a regional player, who just like we did, would like to attain nuclear status and thus obtain  immunity from (nuclear) attack ? Are there really no options to work with Turkey and the Arab League to subdue the bloodshed in Syria ? Have we lost our minds ? Policy by applied military might only ? Nothing else ?

When listening to the Prime Minister, he only thinks in terms of holocaust motives. He and only he will save Israel, single-mindedly from another holocaust. Is it not more likely that he will bring about another holocaust? What will the world around us think ? That we will destroy anything we consider a threat ? As it is, we are very, very inclusive with what we define as a threat.

I certainly hope that the professionals in the military and security establishment will know what to do when the time comes. I know some of them in person. They are courageous enough to stand up to an elected official. They will know what to do and what not. Nobody has ever been able to force an army to do what it doesn’t see fit to do under the circumstances. The IDF, for good and bad, has years of experience of doing just that.

Orders that go against the good advice of all the military and civilian professionals of relevance whose execution could cost thousands of lives should not be followed blindly even if they are given by a supreme civilian authority, an elected official like the Prime Minister.  Civil disobedience by the army while maintaining plausible deniability should always be an option.  Nobody will have to know the truth…


About the Author
The author served in the Prime Minister’s Office as a member of the intelligence community, is a member of the Council for Peace and Security and was a candidate in Labor’s 2012 primary election for the Knesset list