Imagine a tap leaking in the bathroom and you are not at home. Obviously, the house will be flooded. However, the problem is still minor. You would invite a plumber to fix the tap and not do an overhaul to the building, not because an overhaul will not solve the problem but because it demands far too many resources for a relatively small defect.
Metaphorically, such leaking occurred on October 7th. The fence in which we trusted that stood intact for over a decade protecting us from Hamas fell without a battle. The result was tragic to the extent that people still talk about a new Holocaust, although it lasted less than 24 hours. Like a poker game, where one player gets all the Aces, everything that Hamas did on October 7th worked for them. Does it mean that Israel faced existential danger? The answer remains negative.
Nonetheless, we embarked on a campaign that started as Blitzkrieg and developed into slow-paced attrition war. The aims are noble but barely obtainable. To demolish Hamas to the ground is to annihilate the Palestinian nation because when you kill one Hamas terrorist – two new ones are being born. Bringing back the abductees by force has proven entirely unsuccessful with at least three corpses vs. one rescue.
Nevertheless, Newton’s First Law, the Inertia principle, works overtime. We proceed with a campaign that has no chances to reach its goals. Thus, we invent a new aim – vindication. Actually, there is nothing with vindication except for its astronomic price. A day of war in Gaza costs approximately 1 billion shekels – equal to the annual budget of a small governmental ministry. On average, each day of war also brings about two and half dead soldiers and approximately two-hundred thousands reserve personnel who remain far from their home and their workplace. In other words, we sacrifice life and destroy our economy to feel better with ourselves. We say to ourselves that if we stop now – Hamas would see this as a sign of weakness, so we continue in order to show them “who’s the boss”.
Ironically, even though we hate our enemy to the extent that we consider Hamas a Nazi clone (party for a good reason and partly an exaggeration – if you ask me) we still plan our actions thinking of their wishes and not caring first and foremost about our exigencies. We run a full-fledged war not because we need it for our security but because we think that Hamas ought to learn a lesson.
Eventually, the burning question is not whether Hamas wants our extinction (if they could kills us – they would) but whether after almost four months of battles it is still capable of causing significant harm and if the added value of continuing the campaign has not become negative. The October 7th massacre featured an acute malfunction of security measures, but this does not mean that we are doomed to dedicate our lives from now on to a never-ending war, when we can instead fix the measures and save precious lives and a lot of money.