Archive for the ‘Israeli military’ category

New Report Calls Hezbollah World’s “Most Powerful” Terrorist Organization on the Planet

November 2, 2017

New Report Calls Hezbollah World’s “Most Powerful” Terrorist Organization on the Planet, Iran News Update, November 1, 2017

INU -A report released this week by a group of former senior military officials and diplomats, many of them from NATO member states, concluded that Hezbollah, The Shia terrorist movement in Lebanon that is affiliated with Iran, has become the “most powerful non-state armed force on the planet.”

Members of the independent High-Level Military Group (HLMG) include Iraq war veteran US Lt. General Michael D. Barbero, General Klaus Dieter Neumann, former commander of the German armed forces, Lord Richard Dannatt, former commander of the British armed forces, and Lt. General Kamal Davar, the former head of India’s Defense Intelligence Agency. Their report asserted that Hezbollah now represents “a threat that few countries, much less sub-state organizations, on the globe can mount.”

The report warns that war with Israel is “inevitable,” and warned that it is certain to be “more violent and destructive” than previous conflicts. It has been reported that Hezbollah has been withdrawing its forces from Syria in recent weeks, and transferring them toward Israel’s borders on the Golan Heights.

“Israeli intelligence estimates put the number of projectiles in Hezbollah’s possession today at well over 100,000,” the report, titled “Hezbollah’s Terror Army: How To Prevent A Third Lebanon War,” said. “The majority of these are short-range rockets, but thousands have a much larger range, up to 150 miles and more.”

HLMG’s report points out that Hezbollah’s participation in the defense of the Iranian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad improved the organization’s “ability to maneuver and carry out relatively large-scale ground attacks at the scale of company or battalion level.”

Further, the report emphasized that Iran played a decisive role in strengthening Hezbollah’s capabilities. “The upgrade in Hezbollah capabilities is one discernible result of Iran and Hezbollah’s ongoing project to equip the latter with more accurate longer-range missiles, so as to be able to more effectively menace Israel,” it said, and continued, “Hezbollah embeds its military assets among the Lebanese civilians it claims to protect, holds Lebanese politics and questions of war and peace hostage to its Iranian-led regional military imperatives, and has infiltrated Lebanese state organs, including the army, to utilize them for its aims.”

However, the report explained that “the international environment has changed since the previous war, and a defensive assault on Hezbollah, a terror organization now strongly associated with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, will generate full support not only from the United States, but likely also from other Western countries, in addition to tacit but increasing support from the Sunni Arab world.”

The report concluded by saying, “Hezbollah’s strategic concept, coupled to the gains Iran has made regionally … mean that Israeli decision makers are firm in the belief that they will have to respond with overwhelming force and at great speed to any escalation forced upon them.”

US-Israel security interests converge

April 28, 2017

US-Israel security interests converge, Israel Hayom, Yoram Ettinger, April 28, 2017

In 2017, the national security interests of the U.S. and Israel have converged in ‎an unprecedented manner in response to anti-U.S. ‎Islamic terrorism; declining European posture of deterrence; drastic cuts in ‎the U.S. defense budget; an increasingly unpredictable, dangerous globe; ‎Israel’s surge of military and commercial capabilities and U.S.-Israel shared ‎values. ‎

Contrary to conventional wisdom — and traditional State Department policy — ‎U.S.-Israel and U.S.-Arab relations are not a zero-sum game. This is ‎currently demonstrated by enhanced U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, ‎concurrently with expanded security cooperation between Israel and Egypt, ‎Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other pro-U.S. Arab countries, as well as stronger ‎cooperation between the U.S. and those same Arab countries. Unlike the ‎simplistic view of the Middle East, Arab policymakers are well aware of their ‎priorities, especially when the radical Islamic machete is at their throats. They ‎are consumed by internal and external intra-Muslim, intra-Arab violence, which ‎have dominated the Arab agenda, prior to — and irrespective of — the ‎Palestinian issue, which has never been a core cause of regional turbulence, a ‎crown-jewel of Arab policymaking or the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. ‎

Israel’s posture as a unique ally of the U.S. — in the Middle East and beyond — ‎has surged since the demise of the USSR, which transformed the bipolar ‎globe into a multipolar arena of conflicts, replete with highly unpredictable, ‎less controllable and more dangerous tactical threats. Israel possesses proven ‎tactical capabilities in face of such threats. Thus, Israel provides a tailwind to the ‎U.S. in the pursuit of three critical challenges that impact U.S. national security, significantly transcending the scope of the Arab-‎Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue: ‎

‎1. To constrain/neutralize the ayatollahs of Iran, who relentlessly aspire to ‎achieve nuclear capability in order to remove the ‎U.S. from the Persian Gulf, dominate the Muslim world, and subordinate the American “modern-day Crusaders.”‎

‎2. To defeat global Islamic terrorism, which aims to topple all pro-U.S. Arab ‎regimes, expand the abode of Muslim believers and crash the abode of non-Muslim “‎infidels” in the Middle East and beyond.‎

‎3. To bolster the stability of pro-U.S. Arab regimes, which are lethally ‎threatened by the ayatollahs and other sources of Islamic terrorism.

Moreover, Israel has been the only effective regional power to check the North ‎Korean incursion into the Middle East. For instance, on Sept. 6, 2007, the ‎Israeli Air Force destroyed Syria’s nuclear site, built mostly with the support of ‎Iran and North Korea, sparing the U.S. and the globe the wrath of a ruthless, ‎nuclear Assad regime. ‎

While Israel is generally portrayed as a supplicant expecting the U.S. to extend a ‎helping hand, Adm. (ret.) James G. Stavridis, a former NATO supreme commander, ‎currently the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts ‎University, says otherwise. He maintains that Israel is not a supplicant but ‎rather a unique geostrategic partner, extending the strategic hand of the U.S. ‎through a mutually beneficial, highly productive ‎relationship with the U.S.

On Jan. 5, 2017, Stavridis wrote: “Our ‎best military partner in the region, by far, is Israel … as we stand together ‎facing the challenges of the Middle East. … Israeli intelligence gathering is ‎superb. … A second zone of potentially enhanced cooperation is in technology ‎and innovation. … In addition to missile defense, doing more together in ‎advanced avionics (as we did with the F-15), miniaturization (like Israel’s small ‎airborne-warning aircraft) and the production of low-cost battlefield unmanned ‎vehicles (both air and surface) would yield strong results. … We should up our ‎game in terms of intelligence cooperation. [The Israeli intelligence ‎services] of our more segregated sectors on a wide range of trends, including the disintegration of Syria, the events in Egypt and the military and nuclear ‎capability of Iran. … Setting up a joint special-forces training and innovation ‎center for special operations in Israel would be powerful. … It truly is a case ‎of two nations that are inarguably stronger together.” ‎

Unlike other major U.S. allies in Europe, the Far East, Africa and the Middle East, ‎Israel does not require U.S. military personnel and bases in order to produce an ‎exceptionally high added value to the annual U.S. investment in — and not ‎‎”foreign aid” to — Israel’s military posture.

For example, the plant manager of Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the ‎F-16 and F-35 fighter planes, told me during a visit to the plant in Fort Worth, Texas: “The ‎value of the flow of lessons derived from Israel’s operation, maintenance and ‎repairs of the F-16 has yielded hundreds of upgrades, producing a mega-‎billion-dollar bonanza for Lockheed-Martin, improving research and ‎development, increasing exports and expanding employment.”

A similar ‎added value has benefitted McDonnell Douglas, the manufacturer of the F-15 fighter plane ‎in Berkeley, Missouri, as well as hundreds of U.S. defense manufacturers, ‎whose products are operated by Israel. The Jewish state — the most ‎predictable, stable, effective, reliable and unconditional ally of the U.S. — has ‎become the most cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of the U.S. defense ‎industry. ‎

According to a former U.S. Air Force intelligence chief, Gen. George Keegan: ‎‎”I could not have procured the intelligence [provided by Israel on Soviet Air ‎Force capabilities, new Soviet weapons, electronics and jamming devices] with ‎five CIAs. … The ability of the U.S. Air Force in particular, and the Army in ‎general, to defend NATO owes more to the Israeli intelligence input than it ‎does to any other single source of intelligence.” The former chairman of the ‎Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Daniel Inouye, revealed that “Israel ‎provided the U.S. [operational lessons and intelligence on advanced Soviet ‎ground-to-air missiles] that would have cost the U.S. billions of dollars to find ‎out.”

On Oct. 28, 1991, in the aftermath of the First Gulf War, then-Defense ‎Secretary Dick Cheney stated: “There were many times during the course of ‎the buildup in the Gulf, and subsequent conflict, that I gave thanks for the ‎bold and dramatic action that had been taken some 10 years before [when ‎Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak].” The destruction of Iraq’s ‎nuclear capabilities in 1981 spared the U.S. a nuclear confrontation in 1991.

An Israel-like ally in the Persian Gulf would have dramatically minimized U.S. ‎military involvement in Persian Gulf conflicts, and drastically reduced the ‎monthly, mega-billion dollar cost of U.S. military units and bases in the ‎Gulf and Indian Ocean, as is the current Israel-effect in the eastern flank of ‎the Mediterranean.‎

Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.

Golan tension: Pro-Iran troops move on Quneitra

April 27, 2017

Golan tension: Pro-Iran troops move on Quneitra, DEBKAfile, April 27, 2017

(Please see also, Massive Explosion Reported Near Damascus International Airport Following Israeli Airstrikes. — DM)

There is no word yet on whether the warning issued by the defense minister from Moscow has produced a direct Israeli response to the provocation. Very possibly the five explosions and ball of fire they set off at Damascus international airport Thursday morning may prove to be connected to that response.


Early Thursday, April 26, a mixed Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah force embarked on a general offensive in southern Syria ready for a leap on Israel’s Golan border. They moved forward in the face of Israeli warnings that were relayed from Moscow to Tehran and Hizballah.

This latest warning was issued by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is visiting the Russian capital this week to attend an international security conference. After meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Gen. Sergey Shogun, the Israeli minister stated clearly on Wednesday: “Israel will not allow the concentration of Iranian and Hizballah forces on its Golan border.”

By Thursday morning, it was evident that a decision had been taken in Moscow, Tehran, Damascus and Beirut to ignore Lieberman’s warning.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that early Thursday, Shiite militias under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers, alongside Hizballah troops, organized as the Southern Shield Brigade, launched their offensive at Mt. Hermon southwest of Damascus, on their way to the Syrian-Israeli Golan border in the region of Quneitra. The Syrian contingents taking part in this push are the Syrian army’s elite 42nd Brigade and elements of the 4th Mechanized Division.

Their first objective is to capture a string of villages held by Syrian rebel groups in the region of Hadar on the Hermon slopes. They are advancing towards the Golan along the Beit Jinn route.

There is no word yet on whether the warning issued by the defense minister from Moscow has produced a direct Israeli response to the provocation. Very possibly the five explosions and ball of fire they set off at Damascus international airport Thursday morning may prove to be connected to that response.

Toward a True US-Israel Partnership

February 24, 2017

Toward a True US-Israel Partnership, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, February 24, 2017


Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Unlike the US, Israel has used the past generation to develop cutting edge technological capabilities in almost all of the areas where the Americans are lagging behind their competitors. Under these circumstances, Obama’s military assistance is exposed not merely as bad for Israel. It is bad for the US as well.

Israel can help the US compensate for its current scientific disadvantages. Israeli technological innovations can help the US to rebuild its independent capabilities and leapfrog its competitors far more rapidly than it can do on its own today.

An R&D partnership with Israel is also aligned with Trump’s vision for a renewed role for the US in global affairs. As Defense Secretary James Mattis told the US’s NATO allies this week, the US will not continue carrying the load of protecting the West on its own. It wants its allies to be its partners, not its dependents.

In Mattis’s words, “America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense.”


In his speech before the members of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations in Jerusalem this week, President Reuven Rivlin said that Israel has three overriding foreign policy concerns: “Number 1: Relations with America. Number 2: Relations with America. Number 3: Relations with America.”

There is a lot of truth in Rivlin’s hyperbolic statement.

Israel’s security depends on its relationship with the US. After all, the Russians and the Chinese won’t sell Israel fighter planes. Russia couldn’t develop strategic ties with Israel even if it wanted to. Its Iranian ally wouldn’t let it.

As for China, its mercantilist view of the Middle East makes it indifferent to the power balances in the region. Beijing may not harbor hostile intentions toward Israel, but it will act in a hostile fashion if it views China’s interests as advanced by such hostility.

While Israel rightly is working to diversify its foreign ties to move beyond the narrow scope of its alliance with the US, the fact is that with or without Australia and sub-Saharan Africa, the US remains Israel’s irreplaceable ally.

Unfortunately, today even the friendliest US administration cannot be relied on to secure Israel’s long-term capacity to defend itself. Israel faces enemy forces equipped with Russian and Chinese technologies – including Russian forces in Syria – that are rapidly challenging American systems in key areas. So long as the US remains behind the technological eight ball, Israel’s long-term reliance on its military ties to the US is a dangerous proposition.

Things didn’t use to be this way. At the start of the 21st century, America’s military power was unrivaled. From the end of the Cold War until the turn of the century, neither Russia nor China could challenge the US and its status as the sole global superpower.

That is no longer the case.

In a distressing article published this week in the American Affairs Journal, David Goldman details the technological crisis the US is steeped in today.

Goldman notes that the US is lagging behind the Russians and the Chinese in air defense systems and technologies, missile technology, particularly hypersonic missile technologies, submarine warfare, cyber warfare technologies and satellite interdiction capabilities.

To bridge the gap and outpace the Chinese and the Russians, Goldman argues that the US needs to initiate massive government-funded research and development programs.

In the post-Cold War era, Goldman notes ruefully, Americans have forgotten that they were ever vulnerable, that their victory against the USSR was anything but preordained.

The actual history, Goldman reminds us, was quite different. The US victory in the Cold War was the result of conscious decisions by US leaders to outstrip Soviet technology after American technology was shown to be lagging behind.

In 1957, the Americans reacted to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik with a crash program in space exploration. That program, which benefited from lavish federal funding, ended the Soviets’ advantage in aerospace technology inside of a decade.

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Americans realized that the Egyptian success in downing Israeli jets over Sinai in the early days of the war meant that the Soviet surface-to-air missiles Egypt fielded had neutralized US air superiority. The Americans realized that the Soviets’ technological advantage meant that they would win a land war in Europe.

Consequently, Goldman explains, the US initiated détente to avert a war in Europe. At the same time, the Americans began to develop the technologies to defeat the Soviets. Massive public investments in defense R&D followed. A decade later, Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative; the Soviets realized they couldn’t compete, and eight years later, the USSR collapsed.

The Americans weren’t the only ones to respond to Israel’s air losses in 1973 with a massive investment in defense R&D aimed at destroying Russia’s technological advantage with its surface-to-air missiles.

Israel responded to its exposed vulnerabilities by developing the electronic warfare capabilities to neutralize Soviet SAM batteries. As Goldman recalls, in 1982, Israel matched US air platforms – the F-16 and F-15 – used in combat for the first time in the Lebanon War – with its own homegrown computer- based electronic warfare systems. So equipped, Israel eliminated Syria’s Soviet-built surface-to-air batteries and its Soviet-supplied air force, in a stunning air victory.

Whereas in the 1950s and the 1970s, the US had the domestic scientific capacity to quickly regroup in the face of Soviet technological advances, today the US’s path to rebuilding its technological advantage is less clear. Since the Cold War, the US government slashed its investment in military R&D.

According to Goldman, as a percentage of GDP, today US government investment in R&D is barely half of what it was in 1978.

Goldman bemoans the self-imposed evisceration of America’s capacity to develop the knowledge it requires to regain the technological advantage over the Chinese and the Russians.

In his words, “The national laboratories are hollowed out, and the major corporate laboratories (at IBM, the Bell System, General Electric, and RCA among others) that contributed significantly to defense R&D during the Cold War no longer exist. Within the shrinking defense R&D budget, a disproportionate share has been squandered on the F-35, a poorly conceived and executed weapons system with the highest price tag in defense history.”

And it won’t be easy to rebuild them. For 25 years, the US has not only shut down its own laboratories, it has done little to encourage its citizens to acquire the knowledge they need to rebuild that capacity.

Goldman notes for instance that currently, China graduates twice the number of STEM PhDs from its universities as the US.

This brings us back to Israel. In the 1980s, the US regarded the stunning technological advances Israel had made with suspicion. America feared that Israel’s growing technological capabilities would diminish its dependence on the US, at a time when the US was most concerned with keeping the Arab states inside the anti-Soviet bloc and keeping the Soviets out of the Middle East.

Last year, then-president Barack Obama forced Israel to agree to a multi-year military assistance package that if implemented will diminish Israel’s independent technological capabilities while expanding Israel’s technological dependence on the US.

While the aid package increases the amount of US funds Israel is permitted to spend on US systems from $3.1 billion to $3.3b. per year, the deal phases out Israel’s right to use a quarter of the funds on its domestically built systems.

Obama’s aid package also denies Israel and Congress the ability to initiate joint projects to meet new challenges as they arise.

In short, Obama’s deal ensures Israel will be incapable of acting on its own and will remain dependent on US goodwill and technologies for the foreseeable future.

This then brings us back to the US’s swiftly vanishing technology advantage.

Unlike the US, Israel has used the past generation to develop cutting edge technological capabilities in almost all of the areas where the Americans are lagging behind their competitors. Under these circumstances, Obama’s military assistance is exposed not merely as bad for Israel. It is bad for the US as well.

Israel can help the US compensate for its current scientific disadvantages. Israeli technological innovations can help the US to rebuild its independent capabilities and leapfrog its competitors far more rapidly than it can do on its own today.

An R&D partnership with Israel is also aligned with Trump’s vision for a renewed role for the US in global affairs. As Defense Secretary James Mattis told the US’s NATO allies this week, the US will not continue carrying the load of protecting the West on its own. It wants its allies to be its partners, not its dependents.

In Mattis’s words, “America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense.”

Earlier this month, Prof. Hillel Frisch published a short paper for Bar-Ilan University’s BESA Center showing the utter dishonesty of the claim that Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid. Frisch noted that US military assistance to Japan, Germany, Italy and South Korea far outstrips its assistance to Israel. All of those states receive US military assistance in the form of US forces permanently deployed to their territory to protect them. Israel, on the other hand, receives aid in military equipment only. No US assets are endangered, no US forces are required to defend Israel. And the financial burden of the former is far great than that of the latter.

Trump is interested in states like Japan and Germany transforming their strategic relations with the US from relationships based on dependency to partnerships by increasing their military spending.

What Israel’s technological and innovation prowess shows is that as far as Israeli defense assistance is concerned, the US should base its relations with Jerusalem on each sides’ complementary capabilities.

America and Israel should abrogate Obama’s military assistance package and replace it with a partnership based on US finance of Israeli R&D projects geared toward developing weapons systems and technologies that both the US and Israel require.

The deal should stipulate the modalities for both sides sharing the technologies with third parties, and their rights to use the technologies developed by Israel with US capital for civilian commercial purposes. Israel should be permitted to purchase US platforms based on Israeli-developed technologies.

Such a partnership would enable Israel to ensure that its continued dependence on the US won’t place it at a disadvantage vis-à-vis its enemies such as Iran, which are able to purchase advanced weapons systems from Russia and China. Such a partnership would ensure that both the US and Israel have the systems they need to outpace Chinese and Russian technological advances and develop the weapons systems they need to win tomorrow’s wars.

In his remarks before the Conference of Presidents, Rivlin voiced concern at the fact that Israel has become a partisan football in US politics. His concern is well placed.

Assuming that Israel’s dependence on the US will be a fixed variable for the foreseeable future, Israel needs to consider the best way of ensuring that the alliance will persevere regardless of the partisan attachments of future presidents.

The best way to ensure the resilience of the US-Israel alliance over time is for Israel to transform its military dependence into a mutually beneficial alliance with the US. A new military relationship based on joint technology development rather than Israeli purchase of US platforms is the best way to accomplish that goal, for the benefit of both countries.

US professor says journalists must not call jihad attacks on Israeli soldiers “terrorism”

January 16, 2017

US professor says journalists must not call jihad attacks on Israeli soldiers “terrorism”, Jihad Watch

The proponents of the “Palestinian” jihad have lost their moral compass entirely. They believe that any atrocity, any egregious human rights violation, as well as the gleeful celebration of the deaths of Israeli civilians, is justified if it advances the jihad against Israel.


“In Wake of Jerusalem Truck-Ramming, US Professor Says Journalists Must Not Call Arab Attacks on Israeli Soldiers ‘Terrorism,’” by Rachel Frommer, Algemeiner, January 10, 2017:

Following Sunday’s truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem, an American academic took to Twitter to admonish journalists for calling “all acts of Arab violence terrorism,” when the target is Israeli soldiers.

Noura Erakat, assistant professor of international studies at George Mason University in Virginia and a Palestinian rights lawyer, wrote: “Journos, pundits show true colors when they [do this]. Don’t get it twisted. #Jerusalem.”

Calling it “irresponsible to elide distinction bw civilians & soldiers,” Erakat — the founder of the online magazine Jadaliyya, which focuses on the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — also criticized a Wall Street Journal headline that read: “Truck plows into pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing four.”

In response, she tweeted:


Eugene Kontorovich, professor of constitutional and international law at Northwestern University, told The Algemeiner that Erakat’s differentiation between the killing of civilians and soldiers is a “valid distinction,” but said it is important to know whether she has condemned the many car-ramming attackers who have killed Israeli civilians….

Update: On Wednesday, Prof Erakat responded to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.

Asked if she will condemn the perpetrators of car-ramming, stabbing, shooting and bombing attacks that have killed Israeli civilians, Erakat declined to answer yes or no, and said “armed combatants…cannot kill a civilian unless the civilian is a direct participant in hostilities.”

“I don’t think civilians should ever be targeted and sadly the most egregious violators of this principle have been states, including the United States and Israel,” Erakat added.

Asked if those killed on Sunday were legitimate targets of “combatants,” Erakat said that “an active combat soldier, even if not in the field, can be killed.”

Eyewitness: Rammed Soldiers Hesitated to Shoot Fearing Court Martial (Graphic)

January 8, 2017

Eyewitness: Rammed Soldiers Hesitated to Shoot Fearing Court Martial (Graphic), The Jewish PressDavid Israel, January 8, 2016

truck-attackPhoto Credit: Screenshot

The tour guide who accompanied the IDF cadets on their visit to Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem Sunday afternoon told Army Radio that they hesitated to shoot at that truck as it was speeding in their direction. He attributed their fateful pause to last week’s manslaughter conviction of Sgt. Elor Azaria by a military panel of judges for his shooting of a subdued terrorist in hebron.

Stopping just short of placing the blame for the four dead soldiers on the court, the tour guide said he was the only one shooting his handgun at the terrorist truck driver, and only after he had emptied his magazine did some cadets start shooting.

The tour guide spoke to Army Radio from the back of an ambulance, and sounded highly agitated. He said every IDF soldier has been keeping abreast of the Azaria trial and Thursday’s verdict affected them directly. “All they’re being told recently is – watch it,” he reiterated.

Moshe Aharon, a bus driver who was present at the scene of the attack told Army Radio: “A group of soldiers with their duffle bags were standing there, I just let them off the bus – when a truck came ramming into a group of the soldiers and ran over them. The soldiers shot at him and he ran over them a second time. He got to my bus, then switched to reverse and ran over them again.”

Four soldiers died and one was critically wounded in Sunday’s attack. A dozen more soldiers were wounded.

According to Channel 10 News, Arab passers by who witnessed the fatal attack stood and applauded.

It’s all on Azaria’s shoulders

January 4, 2017

It’s all on Azaria’s shoulders, Israel Hayom, Dror Eydar, January 4, 2017

(Please see also, The Azaria trial and the rift over orders to shoot. — DM)

In July 1988, a terrorist attacked Yossi Hadassi, a soldier who had enlisted just three months earlier. Hadassi grappled with the terrorist and managed to kill him. He was awarded a citation of merit from the commander of the Engineering Corps.

Then the media hunt began, backed by the self-righteous Left, which accused the soldier of murder. On May 30, 1989, Yossi Hadassi committed suicide.

That week, the poet Naomi Shemer published a message in Yedioth Ahronoth: “The soldier Yossi Hadassi killed his attacker, and a year later killed himself. It wasn’t only Yossi Hadassi who committed suicide; an entire nation is committing suicide. An entire country is defending itself as its investigators, police, and poets drive it mad and convince it that it is a predatory wolf, Goliath, a monster. The intifada is the prelude and the excuse for the destruction of Israel. We are all Yossi Hadassi.”

Hadassi’s fate touched me. Naomi Shemer’s courage touched me, too. She published her message after a decade in which her work had been viciously attacked because she was “right-wing.”

I was reminded of that piece when the Azaria affair broke. We’ve thrown all the problems in Israeli society, the disagreement rooted in debate between Left and Right and the 100-year-old conflict between us and our neighbors, on to the bowed back of the young soldier. The mechanism of national suicide camouflaged as morality, too.

No, I’m not arguing that Azaria acted rightly. I don’t know how I would have acted in his situation. But even if I don’t think he’s a hero, it’s clear that he’s no murderer, and that what I’ve written. He certainly should not have been put on trial; the matter should have ended with a disciplinary hearing in his unit. And he certainly should not have to carry the weight of Israel’s foreign relations and the IDF’s ethical code and the discussions that have used him as a beast of burden. Sgt. Elor Azaria killed a terrorist. The craziness around his case has to do with the accursed insanity and politicization of the public discourse.

Like Hadassi, Azaria comes from a humble family on which the uncompromising interest and self-righteousness of some of us came crashing down out of the clear blue sky and threatened to crush. No mercy was shown to Hadassi, may he rest in peace, or to Azaria, may he live a long life. But unlike the 1980s, this time there is social media, which was able to help and support him. That’s some comfort. Back then, I couldn’t help Yossi Hadassi, but today I can express my own opinion wholeheartedly: We are all Elor Azaria.