Let the IDF Win

“Let the IDF win” is a rather strange slogan, something I did not understand the first times I heard it.

After Operation “Pillar of Cloud” I understand.

Less a slogan and more a plea, the request is aimed at our politicians, not at our enemies: “Please let our army win. Please do not pull defeat out of the jaws of victory.”

The people of Israel have near absolute faith in the IDF (not absolute because we are an analytical and cynical society but it’s as absolute as it gets in Israel).

The people of Israel believe that the Israeli Defense Force can achieve anything it is directed to achieve. It may be difficult and painful, many lives may be lost on the way but ultimately anything can be accomplished.

The world has seen that this is so – the IDF has kept Israel alive through numerous wars, at impossible odds. The IDF rescued hostages from Entebbe and from the Sabena flight. The IDF prevented nuclear proliferation in Iraq and in Syria. Some say Israel has a hand in the operational difficulties Iran is experiencing in developing their nuclear program as well…

Our army has also taken part in rescue operations around the world, helping other nations – simply because we can – in Greece, Turkey, Nairobi, Haiti, Buenos Aires, Ghana, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and more.

The IDF is unlike any other army in the world and it epitomizes the best of Israeli society.

It is inclusive, finding positions for men and women, the fittest and the weakest of society – including special volunteer programs for the mentally challenged. Religious and secular, Jews and even Moslems serve (although their service is not mandatory and only small number enlist).

Although by nature the military is a hierarchal organization, in the IDF free thinking is king. Blind compliance is considered wrong and even dangerous. Anyone who sees something wrong is expected to speak up; anyone with a better idea is expected to voice it.

The IDF is a military fighting literally, to protect the lives of the people of Israel, not fighting a war in some foreign land “over there”, not protecting an idea but rather specific loved ones – each soldier’s family and friends. With all this, in a “neighborhood” where “Might is Right”, the IDF values morals over strength.

This is our strength. The IDF is the people of Israel and we are strong. No one has ever protected the Jewish people, now we have the capabilities to protect ourselves.

Unless politicians decide otherwise.

Operation Pillar of Cloud began because the citizens of Israel were being bombarded by missiles from Gaza. In a period of eight days 1,506 rockets were launched at Israel. The entire south of the country was held hostage by this bombing, having to stay within a 15 seconds radius of a bomb shelter or risk death. Many homes were damaged. A number of people lost everything they had.

No sovereign country would allow missiles to be thrown at her civilians, at her towns, at the capital. Israel is expected to “take it”.

As our Air Force targeted terrorists launching missiles at Israel, missile caches and tunnels used to smuggle missiles into the Gaza strip the world began to grumble.

A stream of foreign politicians arrived giving direction, veiled as advice: “Your targeted air strikes are reasonable but don’t go in with ground troops”. “Do what you must from the air but do not do more, the world will not accept that”.

Are we a sovereign nation or are we not? Do we have the right to protect our civilians or not? May we, dear world, live or should we just lie down and die?

Should America have had Osama Bin Laden over for a nice chat and tried to make friends with him?

Common sense said that Israel should eliminate the threat to her civilians; that a free people must not be under constant threat of rocket fire. Eliminate, not temporarily stop or delay.

Common sense (and previous experience) says that you cannot expect a terrorist organization bent on your destruction to uphold a peace agreement.

But the leaders of the world came here and told our politicians otherwise.

It is hard to know exactly what went on behind closed doors. It is said that President Morsi of Egypt said that if IDF goes into Gaza he will break the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. It is said that Hilary Clinton banged on the table and threatened. What? Hard to say but in the end Israel received a pledge from President Obama that America would assist with funding for our Iron Dome anti-missile protection system. So that in future conflicts, when our neighbors decide they feel like bombarding us with missiles, we can again sit in bomb shelters until they decide to let us out. Thank you Mr. Obama.

Operation Pillar of Cloud ended with a cease-fire agreement between a (supposedly) sovereign state and a terrorist organization. Instead of a decisive victory over terrorism, Hamas has been elevated to the level of a legitimate entity to negotiate with. The Arabs in Gaza and Ramallah are having parties, celebrating their victory over Israel and the people of Israel are left to wait for the next “round”.

There are things we don’t know, information our politicians have that is not available to the general public. We do know that Iran is searching for ways to replenish Hamas missiles so they can continue to attack us. We also know that Hezbollah in the north has an even larger stockpile of missiles that can reach anywhere in Israel…

The people of Israel know how fragile life is – our lives are what hang in the balance. No more, no less.

I do not envy Israel’s decision makers, particularly our Prime Minister… It is near impossible to stand fast in the maelstrom – one mistake can bring devastation to the country and there is always pressure from without to back down, cave in, sit down, shut up.

In a country where almost nothing is certain, the people of Israel still have faith in the IDF. The IDF can win. If the politicians let them.


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