Steve Kramer

Can Israel Win?

Can Israel win against Muslim terrorists, that is the question. The last time that Israel won such a war was the Six Day War of June, 1967. During that war Israel defeated all five neighboring Arab armies that had invaded it and gained control over the full territory of the obsolete British Mandate for Palestine, portions of which Jordan and Egypt had conquered during the 1948 War of Independence. The Old City of Jerusalem, where the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site is located, was “in our hands.” Israel also liberated Judea and Samaria*, which completed Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel. Egyptian-held Gaza was also liberated, a sliver of land in Israel’s south adjacent to Egypt, in which many thriving Jewish communities were built (as there had been in ancient times). Israel  decisively won that war, but its sympathetic status as a “David” against the Arab “Goliath” ended.

* In 1950 the Jordanians renamed Judea and Samaria the ‘West Bank’ in a very successful ruse denying the area’s ancient Jewish heritage.

Six years later, Israel was surprised by a sneak attack on Yom Kippur, a devastating war which Israel won over a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. Israel did conquer Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, but it was eventually traded back to Egypt for a peace treaty in 1979. While Israel had “won” that war, its victory was ephemeral.

Since then, Israel has had numerous, violent battles with Hamas, supported by Iran, in Gaza. In Lebanon, Iran’s largest and best armed proxy, Hezbollah, continually attacks Israel’s north, but it has the military prowess to attack all of Israel with its huge missile and rocket arsenal. Neither of Israel’s two major armed conflicts with Hezbollah, the First Lebanon War (1982-1985) and the Second Lebanon War (2000-2006), resulted in a clear cut victory. In both cases, whatever Israel gained on the battle field, if anything, was given back for political reasons. 

Since at least 2006, Israel has suffered from a debilitating but not exceptional Western affliction: the lack of the necessary goal – victory – over its enemies. In both Gaza and southern Lebanon, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) has been content to “mow the lawn,” beating back the enemy without the mission of permanently stopping the conflict. This has led to a two-generation standoff with Israel’s permanent adversaries.

What has been the result of the “mowing the lawn” concept? It is merely a temporary cessation of hostilities – until the next time. During the many lulls in warfare over the years, Israel has improved its defensive capabilities dramatically and its enemies have also greatly improved their offensive strength. In fact, Israel has concentrated almost fully, it appears, on defense instead of offense, the opposite of its adversaries.

The Iron Dome system is a perfect example. Along with Israel’s misguided policy of reducing its forces on its northern and southern borders, Israel grew to rely on a very advanced technological cyber defense coupled (in the south) with what was thought to be an impenetrable wall, above and below ground. The Iron Dome was relied upon to counteract any attack from the air. The problem with the Iron Dome is that it’s wholly defensive, protecting Israel from 90% of any projectiles aimed into it but not having any offensive effect. But the Iron Dome’s “success” has had the unintended consequence of emphasizing defense to the detriment of offensive capabilities against its enemies.

Because of the lack of a clear vision for victory, the Middle East Forum, located in Philadelphia and founded by Middle East expert Daniel Pipes, formulated the Victory Project in 2017:

“Mission: The Israel Victory Project steers U.S. and Israeli policy toward backing an Israel victory over the Palestinians to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. This new paradigm seeks to convince Palestinians that the Jewish state will endure, drawing on Israel’s earlier and successful strategy of deterrence.

What we do: We work in the United States and Israel to facilitate a change in the public discourse towards an Israeli victory that aims to encourage Palestinian leadership and society that their best chance at prosperity will come once they accept that Israel is the Jewish state.” (

There is a Knesset Caucus for Victory which attempts to inculcate this goal into the minds of Israel’s defense/OFFENSE leadership. Until now, this effort has had little effect. Hopefully this will change dramatically.

The current war with Hamas and Hezbollah, which started with a second(!) sneak attack, this time solely by Hamas on the 50th anniversary (10/7/24) of the Yom Kippur War, has has prompted the progressive mass media to cast Israel as the villain against Gazan “victims” of Israeli aggression. Sympathy for the Israeli victims of the gruesome 10/7 attack, mostly civilians, dissipated even before the IDF began its counterattack several weeks later. Some even call Israel’s retaliation “genocide,” when the facts show that no other army has come close to reducing the number of civilian casualties close to the extent that Israel has.

The Biden Administration, which purports to support Israel as its greatest Middle East ally, is appalled by Israel’s retaliation against Hamas, and to a much lesser extent, Lebanon. It has duplicitously failed to back Israel fully while restraining the IDF. The Administration is even withholding needed ammunition for Israel’s offense against Hamas, forcing it to use less precise bombs which will only increase casualties. In fact, the Administration (like some other countries) practically accuses Israel of genocide, constantly hinting at it, while it strong-arms  Israel to slow down its efforts to defeat Hamas. This lengthens the war, benefits Hamas and prolongs Israel’s offensive, which will increase casualties. Coincidentally, the American restrictions also encourages more Hezbollah attacks in Israel’s north, where at least 60,000 Israelis are prevented from moving back into their (endangered) homes because of missiles fired from Lebanon.

Personally, I’m appalled at American double-dealing, but evidently that’s the way this State Department operates. I’m also very disappointed that what I thought would serially be on the lips of Israel’s representatives, BLAME HAMAS, is never mentioned. It’s obvious that the origin of this war is the hatred of Hamas/Iran for Jews. Hamas is very happy to turn Gazans into human shields as its strategy to bolster killing its enemy, the Jews.

It’s been said many times that this war would end if Hamas releases Israeli captives and hands over its weapons. But Hamas feels no pressure to do that, now that US (with other Western countries following its lead) isn’t giving all-out support to Israel. Consequently, Iran/Hamas is quite happy that the war continues. Iran benefits by having the world focus its attention on Israel, not on Iran’s unimpeded march towards nuclear weapons. As for Hamas, it has been designated Israel’s victim, following the popular oppressor/oppressed meme.

On May 12, Israeli news outlets reported that the Washington Post quoted four unnamed sources saying that the United States, “is offering Israel valuable assistance if it holds back [from invading Rafah], including sensitive intelligence to help the Israeli military pinpoint the location of Hamas leaders and find the group’s hidden tunnels.” If Israel doesn’t toe DC’s line, will the Biden Administration withhold that invaluable information, inevitably leading to more deaths on both sides? This is unconscionable behavior towards an ally, especially when Israel has already slowed and reduced its war efforts to its detriment, trying to please Biden and the State Department.

The current US administration’s policy to slow Israel’s offensive has shown Israel’s enemies, Hamas/Hezbollah/Iran, that they don’t have to agree to any proposal from Israel to free Israeli captives. Why should they? President Biden is clipping Israel’s wings more than its adversaries could possibly do. And even worse, this administration has continued to shower Iran with billions of $, both directly and indirectly, reviving it from near-bankruptcy just three and a half years ago. (

CNN recently quoted President Biden: “We’re not walking away from Israel’s security. We’re walking away from Israel’s ability to wage war in those areas.” If Israel is not allowed to win and is forced to withdraw without a conclusive victory, it guarantees another war in the not too distant future, after the West (not the wealthy Arab countries) pours billions of dollars into Gaza’s reconstruction. Israel’s enemies will not have been deterred, Iran will test its first nuclear device, countries which the US seeks as allies will be reluctant to join with it, and the world will have nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Good job, Biden Administration! 


NOTE: Watch “Screams Before Silence,” Sheryl Sandberg’s powerful documentary on the heinous Hamas 10/7 attack:  


About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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