Israel is building a Maginot Line

The original title was pre-emption is better than defense. I changed it because I wanted to stress Israel’s passivity. Israel choose to allow Hamas and Hezbollah to arm themselves with 100,000 rockets. In response Israel invested more in defense systems to attempt to deal with the rockets. Every time a defensive gambit works such as the security fence or the Iron Dome or the Arrow anti-missile, Israel finds less will to deal with the threats in an offensive way. Everytime we made a peace deal such as giving away the Sinai or inviting Arafat and his fellow terrorist to come to Israel and make peace, Israel choose to bury the hatchet rather than to be poised to throw it when necessary, We hoped to buy peace with concessions rather than to rely on our strength. Similarily our victory was so overwhelming in ’67, we could have gone one step further and destroyed the mosques on the Temple Mount and claim it as the rightful owners. In stead we gave it away, thinking it would advance peace. By now we must know that we can’t make peace with someone who wants to destroy us and should stop trying.

We were always out numbered and out-gunned but won with our brains and fighting spirit. Now we keep spending more and more money to avoid civilian casualties with precision weapons both for offence and defence. And if we didn’t have any precision weapons, only artillery, wouldn’t we use it. If we didn’t have our defence systems surely we would fight to win on the other guys territory. Ted Belman

By Fresno Zionism

When Iron Dome was first deployed, I was concerned. Now that it has proven itself in battle, perhaps saving countless lives, I am even more concerned.

This is not to say that Israel should not add more Iron Dome and other defensive systems. Every life is valuable. But Iron Dome’s success also has a downside.

Israel’s traditional military doctrine is based on the need to defend a small nation with a small regular army and little strategic depth. For this reason, the IDF has tried to take the war to the enemy, to fight outside of Israel’s borders, and to win quickly and decisively. This doctrine also makes it possible for the IDF to fight less often, by maintaining a posture of deterrence.

A primarily defensive strategy, even if supported by effective technology, turns this doctrine upside down. And this is not reasonable, neither from a military and technological standpoint, nor from a political and psychological one.

Every advance in offensive ability, either technological or tactical, has a defensive response; which, in turn, is overtaken by new offensive capabilities. Iron Dome shoots down a remarkable percentage of short-range missiles, but at a severe economic disadvantage. It can be saturated by a massive bombardment, there can be technical failures, etc.

It is impossible to rely on defense alone, because Israel simply isn’t big enough to absorb the damage when the defensive systems are not 100% effective. More importantly, a strictly defensive posture has zero deterrent ability. Why not fire rockets at Israel if the worst that can happen is that they will get shot down?

Now of course the Israeli government and the IDF will tell you that they are not replacing the traditional aggressive doctrine with a more passive one. Did not the IDF go after rocket teams in Gaza aggressively during last week’s barrage?

Yes, they did. But the response was aimed at the smaller terrorist militias and a few of their personnel. The terrorist infrastructure in Gaza was left in place, just as Hizballah is allowed to have tens of thousands of rockets aimed at Israel and an elaborate structure of bunkers, communications systems, arms depots, etc. poised in southern Lebanon, ready to take the next war to Israeli territory. Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has even threatened ground incursions into Israel.

Israel is not hunkering down into a totally defensive posture. But it’s impossible to doubt that a change in the balance is taking place.

To be fair to Israel’s leaders, there is enormous international pressure on Israel not to fight offensively. One of the main reasons that Operation Cast Lead was terminated without overthrowing Hamas was pressure from the incoming Obama administration. But at least the fighting was in Gaza and not in the streets of Sderot.

The Obama administration approves the idea of a primarily defensive posture for Israel, and will probably be happy to help fund additional anti-missile batteries. My guess is that if they could pass a law that would permit Jews to have only defensive, not offensive, weapons, they would do so.

Nevertheless, it is essential that Israel return to its traditional posture of preemption and aggressive defense, despite the effectiveness of its defensive technology and the pressure from outside. More important even than the military aspects are the psychological effects of the shift, both on Israelis and their enemies.

I have already mentioned the fact that a strong deterrent can obviate the need to fight at all (which is why Israel must never give up its nuclear weapons), but it is also important for the self-respect of the population. Someone who sees himself as a target, albeit a well-protected one, begins to think that he deserves to be a target — or that he should live and work somewhere else, where he would not be a target.

The much-derided concept of “the new Jew” of the early Zionists, although it had silly and misconceived aspects (like the anti-religious stream), was correct in demanding an end to the idea of the Jew as passive victim.

Israel’s enemies are strengthened when defense is overemphasized. Their contempt for Jewish victims and their belief that it’s acceptable to try to exterminate them are augmented. Jews and Israelis are different from anyone else. What happens when you shoot, for example, at Russians?

There is a media phenomenon that was prominent during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead, in which civilian casualties on the Arab side were exaggerated, often invented by elaborate scams. Of course part of this was simply in order to create hatred for Israel, but it was also intended to deter an active (as opposed to passive) self-defense. It may have succeeded by causing the US to ramp up pressure for a cease-fire.

IDF policy to combat this by reducing the percentage of civilian casualties is self-defeating. It can’t be 100% effective (and even if it is, the Arabs and their media supporters can make things up). But insofar as it forces operations to be less aggressive in nature, it reinforces the primarily defensive posture.

This trend must be reversed. As the next war draws nearer, one hopes that Israel will strike preemptively, take the war to the enemy’s territory, and win quickly and decisively in keeping with its traditional doctrine, relegating defensive technology like Iron dome to its secondary function of protecting military bases and the home front — while the offensive capability of the IDF puts a permanent end to the threats facing the nation.

March 21, 2012 | 21 Comments »

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21 Comments / 21 Comments

  1. Steven, Israel has Iran on their radar. They don’t need to discuss Iran but they need to put an end to the rockets.
    Listen if one Israeli child is harmed from these rockets that is enough reason to wipe out these bastards.

    If it’s not rocks they are throwing, it rockets. No one should be expected to live under these conditions.

    Israel needs to go after the Hamas leadership. Cut the head off the sneak. Like Arafat, another scumbag.

  2. I don’t think you know what diversion is. Terrorists in Gaza, operating on behalf of Iran,are sending in rockets to provoke Israel
    and to divert world attention from Iran’s bomb making activities. Thus far it seems to be working well- we are not discussing Iran but rather Gaza.

  3. rongrand says:
    March 24, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    rongrand says:
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    March 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm


  4. rongrand says:
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    March 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm


  5. @ Stewart P:

    Presently Iran is only talking while Hamas is raining rockets into Israel pretty much on a daily basis. Small potatoes or not they have to be dealt with and with a swift and devastating blow, taking out the leadership. Remember Hamas and Hezbollah are proxies of Iran. Iran is aware they are on Israels radar.

    Let us not forget the muslim brotherhood of Egypt. Israel needs to put them on notice if they have any idea of engaging Israel again, this time there will be no Egypt.

  6. No we are listening, but what difference does that make!!! In the grand scheme of things we make no decisions and have little influence.

  7. Stewart- You have really articulated a sad fact of life. Israel has been snookered again by Iran. Hamas, on behalf of Iran, has done an excellent job of diverting Israel away from the current and most serious threat of a nuclear Iran.

    And we have aided Iran by discussing everything but the Iranian threat. How dumb can we be?

  8. Hamas is small potatoes- If we don’t deal with the real existential threat first and foremost-IRAN, WE ARE LOST. WE ARE BEING STUPID BY ALLOWING THE HAMAS DIVERSION.

  9. 90% efficiency on Iron Dome is simply not good enough! Israel needs to try to develop what I call “Project Boomerang”. As any missile heads towards Israel its sending would be reversed, detonating at the site from which it was launched.

  10. Ron: bravo for an exquisitely profound and original analsis of the mideast problem. We must go all out and do what we must do. However don’t forget the absolutely neccessary need to first destroy Iran thoroghly- that is the priority.

  11. @ rongrand:

    Israel needs to strike back with a devastating blow, one that will put fear in their hearts and while doing so take out the Hamas leadership.

    Israel is under siege and the world is silent, so silent it’s deafening.

    Time to retake Gaza and remove Hamas and not worry about world opinion. World opinion is not defending Israel and her people.

    I’m convinced but nobody listens to me. 🙁

  12. @ yamit82:

    Israel needs to strike back with a devastating blow, one that will put fear in their hearts and while doing so take out the Hamas leadership.

    Israel is under siege and the world is silent, so silent it’s deafening.

    Time to retake Gaza and remove Hamas and not worry about world opinion. World opinion is not defending Israel and her people.

  13. @ yamit82:
    Thanks Yamit…

    That was truly inspiring. I just get the feeling that such strategies are no longer in vogue; “a kinder, gentler war” on behalf of the “rest of the world” and its disgusting media.

  14. 1000 years ago some Vikings was fighting. One enimy waiting for execution. Before that he was given a last meal. He said – kill me intantly – do no kill me with porage. Almost the same thing happend in 1967. IDF had rescued the old city. Moshe Daian became populair among the arabs. They was honord by an arab dinner. If he was not busy he was dining with some arabs. This became a Troian horse and the temple mount was given back. The Maginon-line even had a railway. The germans made it simple. The line was impossible to defend because the germans sent sniper on the roof. Explosives were dropd in all openings. The Palestinians always need money.. These days their friens want to give more. An ordinary war ends sooder or later. After 20 years ordinary refugies start a new life. Korruption is ordinary and nobody want to work Morten I Refsaas

  15. I agree 100% and have so for many years. The ONLY way to confront rockets is with rockets. Israel should send rockets to Gaza and make the Palestinians who live there experience the same fate. Only this action will be understood by the world as well as the aggressors of Gaza. And if rockets should emanate from Jordan, then rockets sent back to Jordan will be the initial solution. The world has supported Israel when it stands up for its rights, but never when it “puts its tail between its legs.”

  16. @ yamit82:
    Yamit, I’ve posted the comments of the (very successful) Samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi (The Book of Five Rings) many times on this site. Musashi said that if one only continuously defends without simultaneously counter-attacking, sooner or later you will slip and the opponent will cut you down. This is from a man who killed 69 opponents in single-combat during his life, before “retiring” unharmed.

    Unfortunately nobody appears to have taken his words to heart…

  17. Yamit. Well said. Here’s a labour of love for you. Please do the necessary research on artillery and the state of the art and write an article describing its capabilities and costs compared to using planes and guided missiles. As I understand it modern artillery is as accurate as guided missiles.

    Then make reference to Sharon remark when he was pushing disengagement that we could use artillery if attacked. Finally I seemed to recall after the Six Day War that statements were made that Damascus was within artillery range of our guns on the Golan.

    I want to get a conversation going on the topic of using cheaper weapons.

  18. Ted, hopefully your words (and those of the Fresno Zionist and Yamit82 ) will reach and be listened to by the Israeli decision-makers. Everything you say is correct. Everything you say is exactly what Israel should do.

    One strategy for the terrorists is for them to keep firing low-cost weapons that are then neutralized by is really Israeli High cost weapons. This continues until the defender (Israel) is wiped out in terms of finances and physical defensive resources. (this is called a war of attrition).

    Then the low-cost weapons become extremely effective.

  19. Israels close relationship to the American military has had a deleterious effect in that we have tried to emulate the American military in equipment and tactics but without the enormous financial capability to do so. The Israeli army used to be lean mean and daring often taking considerable risks and accomplishing near miraculous and herculean results. Israel made do with what she had, upgraded where possible old outdated equipment but we were inmost cases successful with that formula.

    In the past our military doctrine was tailored to our equipment and threat assessments. Today we have adopted the American doctrine and seek to obtain equipment to fit the doctrine but our doctrine as the American model is not only flawed but wasteful and not cost effective either in terms of the cost to the taxpayer or the battlefield results.

    Syria realizing it can’t compete with Israel in modern Hi Tech weapons, opted for the less expensive missile threat ( with chemical warheads) and Russian state of the art anti aircraft defensive systems. They have achieved deterrence without nukes. They have accomplished that deterrence achievement for a fraction of what Israel spends..

    We have reached the absurd contradiction that instead of the IDF protecting the citizens the citizens are expected to protect the IDF by absorbing attacks so that the our boys are kept safe and out of harms way.

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