OpinionIsrael at War

We need a born-again IDF

The specter of barbarism demands a new perspective.

Israeli security forces patrol the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Oct. 11, 2023. Credit: Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90.
Israeli security forces patrol the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Oct. 11, 2023. Credit: Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90.
Douglas Altabef
Douglas Altabef
Douglas Altabef is chairman of the board of Im Tirtzu and a director of the Israel Independence Fund. He can be reached at: dougaltabef@gmail.com.    

For all their brilliance in hiding their intentions and plans from the IDF,  Hamas made one glaringly stupid mistake, one that has the potential to determine the outcome of this war: They showed the world what they really are.

Instead of staging fake scenes of children being shot, Hamas gleefully paraded videos of their sadistic, barbaric inhumanity: The wanton murder of children, the rape of girls, the dragging of dead people through the streets and the horrific spectacle of mass-murdering young people attending a dance party in the desert.

No one who sees these videos can ever again regard Hamas as benighted defenders of a desperate people. They are animals, and they have made that crystal clear for the world to see.

The question now is how to take advantage of this newly perceived reality. For starters, the gloves must come off the fists of the IDF. The conceit of its being “the most moral army in the world” must be laid to rest.

It is a perversion of morality to grant any accommodation, latitude or excruciating care to anyone in Gaza. There should be no more leaflets on roofs, no calling off attacks for fear of innocents in the vicinity.

We do not target innocents, but we cannot refrain from what needs to be done because of their presence.

Here is another suggestion: It turns out that, due to the sanctimony of some of our higher-ups, the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is once again being treated at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. Since more than 1,000 Gazans are treated in Israeli hospitals annually, there might very well be quite a few others in Israel.

These people should be treated, but not allowed to leave. They must be placed under arrest. Of course, there will be a hue and cry about this, but I would send the videos of Nazi and Cossack-like pogroms perpetuated by Hamas as a rejoinder.

To those who say that we should not stoop to the level of our enemies, I would say two things: First of all, we’re not. Second of all, if we are too sanctimonious to get closer to their level, we will never defeat them.

The IDF needs to know that the groundwork for their needed evolution has been laid by the nation. I, like many others, have been bombarded with messages from abroad expressing shock and horror at Hamas’ atrocities. Most of them are coming from people who have heretofore expressed no support or concern for Israel.

Any sentient being in Israel who is having conversations with family, friends and neighbors is hearing a consistent narrative that ranges from scorching the earth to total obliteration. In other words, the people of Israel are thoroughly disgusted, revolted and have abandoned all but the most essential compunctions.

I am not worried for a minute that we are somehow sullying ourselves by willing to treat the enemy as the scum that they are. I would be far more worried if we were trying to make excuses for why we somehow cannot do what needs to be done.

The return to our ancestral homeland was in part predicated on the need to find a refuge from the barbarism of pogroms and the sadism of the exile. The on-the-ground Never Again of Israel includes an end to pogroms ever being visited upon the Jewish people.

Shockingly, the events in the south show that this worthy goal has been shattered. We have experienced, on our own land, a pogrom of massive proportions. The difference between now and then is that we have the wherewithal to do something about it.

Israel can and must attack the pogromists with a ferocity that makes the desire to try it again inconceivable. We must send a message to Gazans (many of whom would probably welcome the demise of Hamas), to Hezbollah and of course to Iran that we are far more invested in our survival than they are in our demise.

Nothing can soothe, salve nor justify the deaths of the innocent. But if their deaths produce a newly fierce, ferocious and determined IDF and the political class that directs it, then these deaths will not have been without recompense and righteous vengeance.

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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