Wrath, man’s worst adviser, has overtaken the Jewish state.
That wrath now pervades needs no proof nor explanation. Its effect, however, does need proof, and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon offered it when he called on the opposition not to enter an emergency cabinet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, he explained, is the man responsible for the war that has befallen us, and the opposition must therefore demand his resignation before joining an emergency cabinet that will navigate the unfolding war.
Ya’alon is right in his accusation. This war is Netanyahu’s fault. He cultivated Hamas as a strategic partner, and he led the delusion that it could be bought with Qatari cash.
This is all Netanyahu's fault
Moreover, Netanyahu replaced ministers of defense like socks, thus sowing in the defense system the same instability he sowed in the political system while inflating and devaluing the government, mutilating the public service, and assaulting the courts. Worst of all, Netanyahu divided Israeli society, and thus led the enemy to believe it had become ripe for its assault.
Netanyahu may not get this – on Monday he still had the gall to tell the nation “we always knew what Hamas is” – but it takes no prophet to predict that what has befallen us will ultimately unseat him, and punctuate his career.
Even so, this is not the time to demand Netanyahu’s resignation, and it is also not the time for him to offer it. At this stage of what will surely be a protracted and excruciating war, all our minds, resources, and efforts should be aimed at one thing, and at this one thing only: victory.
That is also why all recrimination over the intelligence debacle with which this nightmare began should not be conducted now.
Instead, we must define the enemy, assess its successes and failures, and then enter the trenches of one of this war’s multiple fronts, if not the military front then the social front, or the global front, or both.HAMAS’ ASSAULT will be recalled as a landmark in military history, twice: first, because of its tactic, which is modern warfare’s first mass deployment of terrorists. And second, in terms of its success, it will be counted among military history’s major surprise attacks.
Terror attacks were previously waged by small groups and aimed at select targets, even big ones. None involved even just hundreds, let alone thousands of barbarians unleashed on a whole residential district, deploying parachutes, drones, boats, and pickup trucks, with the express order to slay civilian men, women, children, babies, and the elderly.
This novelty will now be studied worldwide by dozens of governments facing terrorism threats. In all likelihood, an attempt to emulate Hamas’ invention in some other country is only a matter of time.
Sadly for such an attack’s next perpetrator, his will lack the tactical surprise that was the key element in the success of last Saturday’s attack. Yes, Hamas caught us off guard, both tactically and strategically. However, this is where its success ends and its failures begin – failures in understanding war, understanding Israel, understanding the Jews, and understanding the world.THE MOST famous strategic surprises – Napoleon’s and Hitler’s invasions of Russia, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Yom Kippur War’s twin invasions of Israel – were brilliant in their planning and execution, with one caveat: they ended in decisive defeats. Napoleon’s army was decimated, Israel’s invaders were counter-invaded, Japan was nuked and conquered, and Hitler died in Berlin’s ruins.
The reason for all these aftermaths was that the surprise attack was so brazen that it ignited wholesale resolve – political, military, and national – to hand the surprise attackers total defeat. This is what Hamas failed to predict, and will ultimately face.
Misunderstanding Israel's mind and soul
Yet Hamas’ military miscalculation pales compared with its misunderstanding of the Israeli mind and soul. Hamas expected Israeli society to fall apart. Instead, all 300,000 reservists called up rushed to fight, and millions on the home front are volunteering in every possible way, be it cooking meals for soldiers, donating blood to the war’s wounded, or sheltering its refugees.
Yes, we Israelis argue, debate, and bicker daily, and over the past 10 months we did that with particular relish, but anyone who knows our history knows that when attacked, we unite.
Even more ominously, Hamas misunderstood the Jewish memory its attack would provoke.
There are more than 15 million Jews in the world today. Each one of them, upon hearing that hundreds of Jews were forced from their homes and mowed down by submachine guns, immediately thinks of what happened in the killing fields of Rumbula, Ponar, and Babyn Yar.
Yes, by burning Jews in their homes, and decapitating Jewish babies after snatching them from their mothers’ arms, Hamas has successfully handed today’s Jews the experiences of yesteryear’s Jews in Kishinev in 1903, in Ukraine in 1648, and during the Crusades in 1096. Yet the analogy ends here because today’s Jews, so unlike their forbears, will not be massacred with impunity. They will fight.
Lastly, in waging this attack Hamas has shown the entire world that its rhetoric of “resistance,” which insinuates a struggle for national liberation, is a ruse that conceals its real agenda, which is jihadist in its method, antisemitic in its ideology, and Islamist in its aim.
Gaza is an outpost in the Islamist war on civilization, a war whose troops have already struck in New York, London, Madrid, Paris, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Nairobi, Cairo, Istanbul, and Bali, among others. Now its effort is to place the Jews, yet again, at the heart of a world war.
And that, too, is a miscalculation because the Jews, even after Hitler’s colossal attack, were on the winning side of the Armageddon that the Nazi leader brewed. We won that world war, and we will win this one too.www.MiddleIsrael.netThe writer, a Hartman Institute fellow, is the author of the bestselling Mitzad Ha’ivelet Ha’yehudi (The Jewish March of Folly, Yediot Sefarim, 2019), a revisionist history of the Jewish people’s political leadership.