George Monastiriakos
Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa

Unlike its enemies, Israel puts its people first

Israel is unique in the Middle East. The Jewish State is democratic and liberal, not authoritarian and conformist. Despite their flaws and imperfections, liberal democracies put their people first in ways that are inconceivable for dictatorships.

Consider Jerusalem’s approach to national security. Unlike the Islamist regime in Tehran and the terrorist groups who do its bidding in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, the Jewish State protects its people by investing in both preventative measures as well as offensive and defensive weapon systems.

For example, Israeli law requires that all new homes must be built with a reinforced room. The specific requirements include concrete walls, a ventilation system, an airtight iron door that only opens outward to seal the room, and a window in case the occupants must escape.

Reinforced rooms in private homes are complemented by public shelters, which are open to all Israelis and scattered across the country. In both residential and industrial buildings, on the side of the road, at bus stops, and in shopping centers. There are, in fact, more than one million bomb shelters in Israel.

The Jewish State also spent decades developing defensive weapons systems alongside the United States. Its multilayered air defense, complemented by the most powerful air force in the Middle East, enabled the IDF and its allies to detect, intercept, and destroy up to 99 percent of the drones, ballistic and cruise missiles that Iran launched at Israel last weekend.

On its end, Hamas prioritizes offense over defense. While the terrorist group never considered building bomb shelters for Palestinians, it did spend nearly two decades constructing a 500-kilometre-long network of underground tunnels. Unfortunately, civilians can’t access these. Only the Hamas leadership and combatants can.

Forget procuring air defense systems, Hamas didn’t even bother installing air raid sirens to warn civilians when Israeli fighter jets and drones conduct raids across the Strip. More than half a dozen rounds of fighting later, Gazans still rely on the IDF to drop leaflets, send personal text messages, or leave automated voice mails to receive instructions regarding evacuation routes.

The situation is not much better in Lebanon. Hezbollah spent decades stockpiling more than 150, 000 rockets and missiles while the Lebanese economy collapsed, and the state failed. Although Israel’s air force operates over Lebanese airspace with impunity, the so-called “protector of Lebanon” never invested in air raid sirens to warn civilians nor bomb shelters or air defense systems to protect them.

Whatever Hezbollah’s reasoning may be, rest assured that its decision wasn’t driven by a lack of money. From its narcotrafficking operations and money laundering activities to donations from Shia religious organizations and roughly $700 million in annual transfers from its sponsors in Iran, there is no shortage of funding available at the terrorist group’s disposal.

This, ultimately, comes down to a difference in values and priorities. Israel, democratic and liberal, puts its people first by investing in both preventative measures and defensive as well as offensive weapons. Meanwhile, Hamas and Hezbollah, pawns to be sacrificed for someone else’s gain, have repeatedly put civilians in harm’s way for the personal interests of those living comfortably in Tehran and Doha.

For decades, Iran also prioritized developing offensive weapon systems at the expense of its defensive capabilities. While Israeli F-35s exposed Tehran’s domestic-produced and Russian-made air defense systems as primitive years ago, Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal is the biggest in the Middle East. “Death to America, death to Israel” is the Islamic Republic’s motto. There is no question who the Islamic Republic intends to use its weapons against.

Yet the Iranian regime’s brutality isn’t just directed outwardly towards the small Satan (Israel) and the big Satan (America), but also internally against its own people. Sentencing women who refuse to wear the hijab to public flogging and executing men by hanging them from cranes are not shows of strength, but desperate displays of weakness.

The Islamic Republic cares little for Iranians, and even less for the people of Lebanon and Gaza. Unlike its enemies, however, Israel always puts its people first. So don’t be surprised when the Jewish State makes the people-centric decision to eliminate the existential threat posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons program – once and for all.

About the Author
George Monastiriakos is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa. Read his works at Follow him on X @Monastiriakos.
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