The most important result of Israel’s strikes last week against Iranian targets in Syria is that the mask was removed. In the past, Israel attacked “unofficially.” No more. This time Israel defended itself with its face uncovered. I salute the IDF, I salute our brave IAF pilots, and I salute the prime minister.
Last week, 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 is also the man who made a deal with the Nazi devil before the war – when Hitler was still a rejected outcast. He gave Germany arms, divided up Poland, 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 U.S. logistical aid, it is doubtful 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 General Uzi Narkiss.
Does 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? Does anybody know that Rabin 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, 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 Benjamin Netanyahu, who attempted to convince Obama to solve the problem instead of solving it himself.
But that no longer matters. What matters is the leader who will appear in the victory photo. I really don’t care if it’s Netanyahu (even though I must admit that I don’t believe it will). As long as victory is achieved.
Victory is essential. But victory is not achieved by hiding behind masks. We cannot attack “unofficially” with “foreign sources” reporting the news. That’s why last week’s attacks were so important. The IDF spokesperson candidly 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 a self-defense justification on a silver platter. This justification is the only one for which we are willing to act. When we defend ourselves, we feel just and don’t feel a need to hide behind masks.
That is 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 Muslim wakf, turning the Six-Day War into just another round of fighting.
The ability to win, the ability to produce that triumphant picture, 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, which doesn’t really belong here. When we are attacked, the world forgives the attackers because, after all, what are we doing here in the first place?
In order to win, we must possess a different kind of justification – a justification that relies on truth. We must possess a sense of justice that makes us the lawful, legitimate owners of this land. A sense of justice that infuses us with energy and regional and international influence that nobody would even think of attempting to undermine.