It is well known that our enemies are astute followers of the Israeli social and political scene. They observe events with a keen eye and not just those relating directly to them, like defense and security issues. They look carefully for perceived weaknesses to exploit.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has certainly been taking stock of what has been occurring in Israel over the years from his bunker in Beirut.
A few days ago, he took the opportunity to embolden his devotees and send a message to Israel. He gleefully cited Israeli officials and former officials who talk of civil war in Israel over proposed judicial reforms and concluded by stating his hope that Israel will be destroyed.
“God willing, it will not reach its 80th birthday,” he said.
This sums up how our enemies see everything in Israel: Through the lens of their desire to destroy us.
Our enemies do not seek to enter into our internal debates, as some of our friends do. They are not looking to gain a political and diplomatic advantage. They are not generally interested in territorial gains.
They desire one thing and one thing only: The annihilation of the Jewish state.
We see it written on the missiles paraded through Tehran, in Arab media, in the Palestinian Authority’s mosques and educational systems.
All these enemies know they cannot currently defeat Israel militarily, but they believe that if Israel is substantially weakened, their victory comes closer.
This might sound alarmist to some, but we should not take such things lightly. Most Israelis will see Nasrallah’s remarks as mere saber-rattling by someone who needs to maintain the pretense of strength for domestic or political reasons.
However, it is such remarks that drive every missile, every stabbing attack and every shot fired at an Israeli.
We should take Nasrallah and others’ hopes and dreams for what they are: A very real expectation that they will eventually defeat us. Our enemies truly believe that, in the end, they will win. They take every opportunity to demonstrate that belief, whether that opportunity is presented by their own actions or ours.
It is certainly no coincidence that the second intifada arrived mere weeks after then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak agreed to far-reaching compromises at Camp David in July 2000. In the same way, the Second Lebanon War came less than a year after the disengagement from Gaza.
These are just two examples of a clear pattern in which our enemies smell weakness and go on the attack.
They don’t care for the intricacies of debate in a robust democracy like Israel’s or the Israeli left’s argument that you can make peace by compromising from a position of strength.
Our enemies look to the past for proof of their eventual victory, often referring to the Crusades and figures like Saladin, convinced that time is on their side.
They will also know that history proves that victors do not concede or compromise until they have won and vanquished their enemies. This has been true for millennia. Our enemies see an Israel that denies this historical truth, trying to negotiate away the conflict through concessions and compromises, and failing miserably.
A country that wants victory does not act like this. A nation that wants to defeat its enemies must force them to give up any hope of ultimate victory. It must crush its enemies’ will to continue fighting.
Israel should listen carefully to Nasrallah’s words and understand their ramifications. They are the words of someone who believes in ultimate victory over Israel, even if his timeline is somewhat optimistic.
These are the words of our enemies, heard regularly in Tehran, Ramallah, Gaza, Beirut and elsewhere. Our enemies believe them and act accordingly.
People regularly ask how we can win this war against our enemies.
History has the answer: You pressure them militarily, economically, diplomatically and politically until they give up. Then they admit defeat and accept the terms of their loss.
Only then is it possible to talk about what peace might look like; a peace that might actually benefit the defeated.
Israel has tried multiple ways to end the wars waged against it, but the words of Nasrallah and others demonstrate that Israel has not succeeded.
There appears to be no alternative to an Israeli victory.
Karma Feinstein Cohen is executive director of World Herut, a member of the board of governors of the Jewish Agency and a writer for the Israel Victory Project.