OpinionIsrael at War

Israel has lost every war for the past 50 years

Sadly, it looks like it will lose this one, too.

Israeli soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip, April 6, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Israeli soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip, April 6, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Bob Zeidman
Bob Zeidman is the creator of the field of software forensics and founder of several successful high-tech Silicon Valley firms.

The goal of war is to defeat your enemy. Wars are not won by ceasefires. Wars are not won by allowing your enemy to regroup and become stronger so they can attack you again.

The Allies indisputably won World War II. But they arguably lost World War I because, afterward, Germany became stronger, better equipped, better trained and more intent on world domination. Had the Allies actually won World War I, World War II would not have happened.

Most agree that America lost the Korean War. North Korea grew more powerful after the war and now threatens the world with nuclear weapons. Everyone agrees that America lost the Vietnam War. Vietnam became a brutal, oppressive communist dictatorship after America withdrew.

Americans on the left and the right believe Israel is a great military power. Yet Israel has not won a war for the past 50 years.

The 1973 Yom Kippur War was decisive. Israeli troops made their way deep into Syria. They encircled the Egyptian army. Damascus and Cairo were in sight. The war showed that Israel could defeat the greatest Arab armies. This understanding eventually led to a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel that, while imperfect, has avoided another war for five decades. The treaty also fostered reluctant but solid cooperation between the two countries.

After each subsequent armed conflict—whether against Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Syria or Iran—Israel’s enemies only grew stronger, bolder and more dangerous. This is not winning. It is losing.

Unfortunately, reports now indicate that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to release Hamas terrorists en masse in return for Israeli hostages living or dead. Even if these reports are not accurate, it is clear that he will not order the IDF to destroy Hamas. Instead, he has ordered it to undertake short-term incursions and attacks against minor targets. As is Israel’s standard operating procedure, everyone in the target area will be given advance notice before each operation, which means terrorists will know an attack is coming and avoid it.

Netanyahu has done this many times before. Every time, Hamas or Hezbollah only got stronger afterward. Hezbollah has amassed more rockets pointed at Israel than at any other time in Israeli history. Hamas’s tunnels have become an enormous maze equivalent to a major city’s subway system.

Since 1973, most Israelis and their leaders have believed that Israel would always be militarily superior to its enemies. Thus, simply keeping those enemies at bay seemed like a victory. The Oct. 7 attack was successful because of this attitude. Israelis believed any Hamas threat would be easily discovered and suppressed with few serious consequences to lives or property. Why else would a music festival be held a mere three miles from enemy territory?

Israelis have always believed that their free society, great educational system, financial resources, military training, superior technology, willpower and perhaps help from God would allow them to defeat their enemies. After all, the Israelis overcame significant disadvantages in every military confrontation from its founding in 1948 to the 1973 war. We now know, or ought to know, that this assumption of military superiority is an illusion.

Yes, Israel defeated Iran’s massive missile and drone attack on April 14. But had one of those missiles carried a nuclear warhead, it would have been the end of Israel. We know Iran is working towards nuclear capability.

Moreover, Israel was helped by the U.S., Britain, Jordan, France, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These countries, including the U.S. under the Biden administration, are not reliable allies. Their leaders often condemn Israel, its policies and its leaders.

U.S. President Joe Biden has been obviously trying to “thread the needle” on this issue. He claims he supports Israel’s right to self-defense to avoid losing support from his Jewish donors and voters. At the same time, he loudly condemns Israel’s elected prime minister and the country’s war strategy. He repeats the fake casualty numbers supplied by Hamas. He refuses to veto anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, sanctions an IDF unit for alleged human rights violations and halts shipments of critical weapons. Perhaps worse still, he continues to give billions of dollars to Iran, which funds the murderers and rapists of Hamas and Hezbollah, while demanding nothing in return.

For Israel to protect its citizens and remain a refuge for Jews around the world, it must understand that it no longer has military superiority over its enemies. It cannot immediately discover and easily subdue every attempt to attack its citizens. It can no longer afford to lose a war. It must win every war from now on.

The only way Israel can do that is to destroy its enemy’s ability to reconstitute itself. Perhaps more importantly, it must ensure that the supporters of its enemies fear the might of Israel more than the retribution of the evil organizations and regimes they support.

Despite any public relations concerns, it is time for Israel to abandon its philosophy of containing its enemies. Instead, it must focus on absolute victory.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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