Another time can talk about Israel’s current policy on Gaza, what’s right and wrong about it, but for now I want to focus on what we accomplished and what we exposed in this round of fighting in Operation Shield and Arrow.
Speaking of which, I first want to point this out from 2 Melachim 19:32, as people were wondering why they didn’t call it Operation Bow and Arrow, since it started on Lag B’Omer.
He shall not shoot an arrow at it,
Or advance upon it with a shield,
Or pile up a siege mound against it.”
That happened to be the Perek Yomi on the day the campaign started, in Project 929 – so either someone’s been learning their Tanach, or God has a funny sense of humor, or both.
The most obvious accomplishment was the successful policy/strategy change of returning to targeted assassinations of senior terrorists – but this time with reduced concern for collateral damage relative to the increased value of the target and the threat to Israel. It can’t be overstated how important a change in both strategy and policy this is.
With the Biden administration exerting so little influence in the Middle East these days and Biden’s ongoing boycott of Netanyahu, that might have been what allowed this to happen and caused a permanent loosening of the reins.
Perhaps this is a next step towards being prepared to indiscriminately carpet bomb the enemy in response to them attempting to carpet bomb us. One can hope.
While Islamic Jihad found itself in the position of having no choice but to replace their senior commanders every few hours in the midst of a war – or surrender, Israel sent an unequivocal message to Hamas that they’re going to have to start living in bunkers by themselves, like Hassan Nasrallah does, and even that won’t save them.
We proved that Israel can find their terrorist leaders, no matter where they’re hiding. Like whack-a-mole, we might have to wait a bit, but we’ll get them. You can bet they’re scared.
We exposed another Hamas weakness. Hamas was pushing hard for Islamic Jihad (who take orders from Iran) to accept the ceasefire. Why? Because Gaza was running out of fuel for their generators. And Hamas, when not in a war that they initiate, is now concerned about maintaining order and control on a day-to-day basis, and that includes keeping the electricity running. More confirmed leverage to us during conflict and non-conflict periods.
Israel recently sold the David’s Sling anti-missile system to Finland for $345 million USD. David’s Sling has now been combat-tested and proved to be successful in real-world conditions. It’s value just jumped, and we have Iran and Islamic Jihad to thank for that.
Some problems with Iron Dome were discovered and fixed. Unfortunately, an elderly woman was killed when a (regular) rocket got through from the many hundreds of rockets shot at us, and a Gazan man working in Israel was killed by shrapnel from an Islamic Jihad rocket.
It is clear we need the Iron Beam laser system up and running already for when the big war happens.
And even the IAF pilots, which you have to admit, not everyone was 100% sure we could still trust and rely on, came through in the end. And that was also an important message sent to our enemies who definitely thought our pilots couldn’t be relied on anymore.
We presumably learned more about the Iranian missiles they shot at us.
While there was much criticism about letting Aviv Gefen run a live concert with tens of thousands of people in Tel Aviv while missiles were being launched at Tel Aviv… let’s face it, Israel was able to permit a live concert in Tel Aviv with tens of thousands of participants while rockets were literally being launched at Tel Aviv. Think about that for a moment and what that means.
The last question is, are there lessons here for our upcoming battle with Hamas?
In some ways it will just be a matter of scale when it comes to the number of missiles and their range.
Though in other ways, Hamas is more serious, and they surely have other tactics and strategies in place that Islamic Jihad doesn’t – including underwater units which we didn’t see at all in this operation, drones, terror tunnels, fire balloons, anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, tank-traps, other stuff we can’t predict, and most seriously, a more established terror network in Judea and Samaria, so we would find ourselves simultaneously fighting on a second front.
But on that last point, while it wasn’t discussed that much, the IDF was simultaneously running successful operations in Judea and Samaria during this operation and killed a number of terrorists there too, so our side clearly recognizes the linkage and has been preparing for it.