Walter G. Wasser

Israel’s Struggle vs. D-Day: A Comparative Analysis

As we commemorate the anniversary of D-Day, it is worth reflecting on the nature of modern conflicts and how they compare to historical battles. Israel’s ongoing struggle against agents of Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah presents a unique opportunity to draw parallels and distinctions with the monumental events of D-Day. While the scale and nature of these conflicts differ significantly, understanding their similarities and differences can provide valuable insights into the complexities of warfare and national defense.

Scale and Scope

D-Day, also known as Operation Overlord, was one of the largest military operations in history. On June 6, 1944, over 156,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, marking the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. This operation involved meticulous planning, vast resources, and the coordination of forces from multiple nations. The sheer scale of D-Day was unprecedented, with a clear objective: to liberate Western Europe from Nazi occupation and ultimately defeat Adolf Hitler’s regime.

In contrast, Israel’s fight against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah involves ongoing, smaller-scale conflicts characterized by asymmetrical warfare. Rather than large-scale invasions, Israel’s defense efforts are focused on neutralizing immediate threats, preventing terrorist attacks, and maintaining regional stability. The scale of these operations is significantly smaller than D-Day, yet they require constant vigilance, intelligence operations, and precision strikes to counteract the activities of these groups.


The primary objective of D-Day was the liberation of Nazi-occupied territories, which was a crucial step toward the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. The operation was a turning point in World War II, demonstrating the resolve and strength of the Allied forces in the face of tyranny. The success of D-Day paved the way for the liberation of Europe and the restoration of peace.

Israel’s objectives in its fight against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah are centered around ensuring national security and protecting its citizens from terrorism. These groups pose a continuous threat through rocket attacks, tunnel infiltrations, and other forms of asymmetrical warfare. The brutal invasion by Hamas on October 7, 2023, exemplified this threat, with merciless killings, rapes, and the taking of hostages, underscoring the urgent need for Israel to neutralize these threats, maintain deterrence, and secure its borders. While the objective is not the liberation of occupied territories, it is equally vital for the safety and stability of the nation.

Tactics and Strategy

D-Day’s success hinged on meticulous planning and the execution of conventional military strategies. The Allied forces used a combination of amphibious assaults, airborne operations, and naval bombardments to achieve their objectives. The strategy involved overwhelming the enemy with sheer force and numbers, creating a beachhead from which to advance into occupied Europe. The coordination between various branches of the military and the element of surprise were critical to the operation’s success.

Israel’s strategy in combating Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah is markedly different due to the nature of the threats it faces. The tactics employed are largely shaped by the need to combat non-state actors and irregular forces. These include intelligence-driven operations, targeted strikes, and defensive measures such as the Iron Dome missile defense system. The strategy is more about precision and minimizing collateral damage while achieving tactical objectives. Additionally, Israel’s defense forces must be agile and responsive, capable of rapid deployment and countermeasures against a variety of unconventional threats.

International Support and Perception

D-Day was a collaborative effort involving multiple Allied nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and others. The operation had broad international support and was seen as a necessary and just action to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny. The moral clarity of the mission and the unity of the Allies were crucial components of the operation’s success.

Israel’s actions against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah often face a more complex and divided international response. While Israel receives substantial support from allies such as the United States, it also faces criticism and condemnation from various quarters, including international organizations and some nations. The perception of Israel’s military actions is influenced by political, historical, and ideological factors, leading to a diverse range of opinions on its legitimacy and proportionality.

Impact and Legacy

The impact of D-Day was profound and far-reaching. It marked a turning point in World War II, leading to the liberation of Western Europe and the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. The bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers involved are commemorated annually, and the operation remains a symbol of cooperation and determination in the face of evil.

The impact of Israel’s conflicts with Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah is ongoing and multifaceted. These conflicts have shaped Israel’s national security policies and its approach to defense. The constant threat of terrorism has led to innovations in military technology and tactics, influencing global counter-terrorism strategies. The legacy of these conflicts is still unfolding, with implications for regional stability and international relations.

Nature of the Conflict

D-Day was a conventional military operation involving large armies, defined battle lines, and significant territorial gains. The battlefields were clearly demarcated, and the strategies employed were those of traditional warfare. The success of D-Day relied on the overwhelming force and coordination of the Allied troops against a well-defined enemy.

In contrast, Israel’s conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah involves asymmetrical warfare, where the enemy is not a traditional army but rather non-state actors employing guerrilla tactics. These groups use a variety of methods, including rocket attacks on civilian areas, suicide bombings, and underground tunnels, making it difficult to engage them in conventional warfare. The nature of the conflict requires Israel to rely heavily on intelligence, surveillance, and precision strikes to minimize civilian casualties while neutralizing threats. The atrocities committed by Hamas in their October 7, 2023 invasion highlight the brutal and unpredictable nature of this modern conflict.

International Involvement

D-Day was a collaborative effort involving multiple Allied nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and others. This joint operation showcased international cooperation and the collective resolve to defeat a common enemy. The success of D-Day was a testament to the strength of allied partnerships and the shared commitment to freedom and democracy.

While Israel’s fight against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah has significant international implications, it is primarily driven by Israel’s defense forces. However, Israel does benefit from intelligence sharing, military aid, and diplomatic support from allies, particularly the United States. The international community’s role is more nuanced, with various geopolitical factors influencing the level of involvement and support.

However, it is important to acknowledge the international campaign and support for Hamas that has emerged, particularly in the wake of university protests and global demonstrations. These protests, while often rooted in broader political or humanitarian concerns, sometimes express support for Hamas, a designated terrorist organization responsible for numerous brutal attacks, including the October 7, 2023 invasion. This international support complicates the conflict, as it can legitimize or embolden groups like Hamas, making the quest for peace and security even more challenging for Israel.

Furthermore, the worldwide promulgation of Iran’s brand of extremist totalitarianism, which blends elements of radical Islam and a form of militant communism, poses a significant threat. This ideology not only fuels the actions of Hamas and Hezbollah but also seeks to expand its influence through proxies and aligned movements across the globe. The spread of this totalitarian ideology represents a direct challenge to democratic values and stability in various regions. This has led to an increase in antisemitism and anti-Zionism, particularly within certain university environments in the West, drawing disturbing parallels to the spread of Nazi ideology in the 1930s.

The Modern Ideological Battlefield

Garrett Graff writes, “Now it feels trite to label WWII as the ‘Good War,’ but it was the last war that the US fought that ended in a clear victory, waged against an enemy that united America more than divided us, the last war that pitted good against evil in the pursuit of the ideals of freedom and democracy.” This observation raises an important question: How is it that in the US, Israel’s struggles against Iranian communism and Islamofascism by Hamas and Hezbollah cannot be seen as such a struggle?

In World War II, the clear moral dichotomy between the Allies and the Axis powers galvanized nations in a united front against a common enemy. Today, the ideological battleground is more complex. The embrace of “Islamofascist communism” on university campuses, combined with rising antisemitism and antizionism, mirrors the dangerous totalitarianism that the Allies fought against during World War II. This ideological shift on campuses around the world underscores the persistent challenge of confronting and defeating oppressive ideologies. Despite the clarity of the threat posed by Hamas and Hezbollah, political polarization and differing perspectives on Middle Eastern geopolitics have fragmented public opinion, preventing a unified response akin to that seen during World War II.


D-Day was a single, albeit crucial, day in the broader context of World War II. The operation marked the beginning of a sustained campaign that lasted several months, eventually leading to the liberation of Paris and the defeat of Nazi Germany. The impact of D-Day was immediate and transformative, altering the course of the war.

The conflict between Israel and agents of Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah is ongoing and has persisted for decades. It is characterized by periods of intense fighting, such as the wars in Lebanon and Gaza, interspersed with relative calm. The protracted nature of this conflict requires a long-term strategy and constant adaptation to evolving threats. Unlike the decisive outcome of D-Day, the resolution of this conflict remains uncertain, with diplomatic efforts and military actions continuing to play critical roles.

The Role of Ideology

During World War II, the ideologies of fascism and totalitarianism were clearly identifiable enemies. Today, Israel faces a blend of religious extremism and political ideologies that complicate the narrative. Iranian influence, through its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, combines elements of radical Islamism and militant communism, creating a unique and dangerous form of totalitarianism. This ideology not only threatens Israel but also aims to destabilize the region and expand its influence globally.

The ideological struggle is further complicated by the presence of sympathizers and supporters in the international community, including on university campuses. This support can sometimes obscure the true nature of the threats posed by these groups, complicating efforts to build a broad-based coalition against them.

Reflection and Conclusion

Garrett Graff, in a recent article for the New York Times, highlighted a poignant piece of history: every serviceman on D-Day was handed a pocket guide to France that stated, “We democracies aren’t just doing favors in fighting for each other when history gets tough. Take a look around you as you move into France and you’ll see what the Nazis do to a democracy.” This message underscores a timeless truth about the fight for democracy and freedom. Just as the Allies were united against the tyranny of Nazi Germany, Israel’s ongoing struggle against forces that threaten its democracy and sovereignty resonates with the same determination and resolve.

Graff concludes his article with a powerful reminder: “Across the next few months we will be hearing a lot of argument about what America is and what it isn’t. There’s a simpler answer to that question than many would like to admit: What we’ll fight for is who we are. And, as we look ahead, we must decide if we’re still as willing today to fight for democracy as the generation who stormed Normandy was 80 years ago”.

While D-Day and Israel’s fight against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah differ in many respects, they both underscore the complexities of warfare and the enduring need for vigilance, strategy, and international cooperation. D-Day remains a symbol of the triumph of good over evil, a reminder of the sacrifices made for freedom. Israel’s ongoing struggle highlights the challenges of modern asymmetrical warfare and the importance of protecting national security in an unpredictable world.

As we honor the heroes of D-Day, let us also recognize the courage and resilience of those who continue to defend their nations against ever-evolving threats. The lessons of the past, coupled with the realities of the present, remind us that the fight for peace and security is an enduring one, demanding unwavering commitment and resolve. The resurgence of extremist ideologies on university campuses and the global spread of radical totalitarianism serve as stark reminders that the battle for democracy and human rights is far from over. We must remain vigilant and united in our efforts to combat these threats, ensuring that the sacrifices of the past continue to guide and inspire our actions today.


Graff, Garrett. “Why We Must Keep the Memory of D-Day Alive.” New York Times, June 4, 2024.

About the Author
The author is a specialist in nephrology and internal medicine and lives with his wife and family in Jerusalem.
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