The Mask is Off
The most important thing that took place this past night, when Israel forcefully retaliated against a broad range of Iranian targets in Syria, was that the masks were removed. There is no longer that opaque area in which Israel does not officially announce that it attacked. As of last night, Israel defends itself with its face uncovered.
I salute the IDF, I salute our brave IAF pilots and I salute the Prime Minister.
Yesterday, Russia celebrated its Victory Day over the Nazis. That victory belongs to two leaders: Churchill and Stalin – mostly to Stalin. Stalin is the man who triumphed over Hitler and it was his red flag that was justifiably raised over Berlin.
But Stalin was also the man who made a deal with the Nazi devil before the war broke out – when Hitler was still a rejected outcast. He gave Germany arms, divided up Poland between the two of them and lulled his army into complacence in the face of clear signs of an imminent German attack. The shocking price that Russia and its offshoots paid for Stalin’s debacle was horrific. If it hadn’t been for the US logistical aid, it is doubtful that they would have succeeded in turning the tables of the war.
That is how it goes with history. When there is a clear victory, it is the leaders who reap the fruits – despite their fiascos. Look at this famous picture from the Six Day War, carefully constructed by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, the victor. We see him marching into the Old City of Jerusalem, flanked by Chief of Staff Yitzchak Rabin and warfront commander General Uzi Narkiss. Did anybody remember that, of all the government ministers, it was the triumphant Dayan who most staunchly opposed the liberation of Jerusalem, which he tried to prevent at any price? Did anybody know that the Chief of Staff had a nervous breakdown at the start of the war, for which he was hospitalized? The victory belongs to those leaders who are present when it happens.
Why do I bring this up?
Because there is one person most responsible for the deal that Obama signed with the ayatollahs. It is a deal that gave Iran 150 billion dollars, transforming it into a regional power that extends across the Middle East, just a stone’s throw from the Golan Heights. It is a deal that has led to the insane situation that Israel now faces in the north. The person most responsible for that deal is none other than Binyamin Netanyahu, who attempted to convince Obama to solve the problem instead of solving it, himself.
But that no longer matters. The entire process will be associated with the leader who appears in the victory photo. I really don’t care if it will be Netanyahu (despite the fact that I must honestly admit that I don’t believe that that is what will happen, as I will explain).
In order to achieve victory, it is necessary to win – not just to react to attacks.
Victory is not achieved by hiding behind masks.
That is why my opening words in this article are that the most important achievement of last night was the removal of the masks. No more foreign sources reporting that Israel attacked. No more “according to experts”. It was simply the IDF Spokesperson who announced the attack.
What changed? Why didn’t we once again hear reports of a faceless attack? The answer is that Iran made a huge mistake and presented us with the self-defense justification on a silver platter. The self defense justification is the only value with which we remain today and for which we are willing to act. When we defend ourselves, we are just and so there is no need to hide behind any masks.
Herein lies the secret of victory. To feel justified.
The problem, of course, is that when we feel justified only when we can claim self-defense, it is impossible to win. In order to win, it is necessary to initiate – not just to react. That is why wars in Israel never end. Because we never really win.
Defense Minister Dayan in the picture above hurried to give the Temple Mount keys to the Moslem wakf, turning the Six Day War into just another ‘round’ of fighting.
The ability to win, the ability to produce that triumphant picture – and not just a tactical success, as important as it may be – can only come when relying on something more than self-defense. Self-defense alone turns us into the polite bully who took over the neighborhood. It puts us in the role of a UN police force, something that doesn’t really belong here and as a result, is allowed only to defend itself from attack. When it is attacked, the world is forgiving of the attackers, because after all, what are you doing there in the first place?
In order to win, we must create a different kind of justification – a justification that relies on the truth and on our message. A sense of justice that makes us the lawful, legitimate owners of this Land. A sense of justice that infuses us with energies and regional and international influence – which nobody would even think of attempting to undermine.
Justice that will bring peace.
In order for peace to reign – the war has to end.
And for the war to end – we have to win.
And to win – we need to believe that we are just.