By Larry Gordon
So Iron Dome is a great technological miracle. Now we have to figure out a way to stop apologizing for it. The Arabs, the president of Turkey, and an assortment of others were not embarrassed last weekend to ask whether Israel was really being attacked by the Hamas terror arsenal emanating from Gaza. “If Israel is being attacked, where are the fatalities?” asked President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. Sorry, buddy, but we hope we will continue to be unable to oblige.
It seems that only Israel is capable of being all things to all people. One day we are the weakest, most persecuted of the world’s victims in our tiny little state. Then, in the next breath, we are this domineering and unrelenting monster with designs of taking over the world.
One minute we are cast as the leeches of society and the next we are controlling the international money flow and the entire world’s business. It’s a big and time-consuming job to fill these contradictory roles but that seems to be our lot.
What is troubling the world now is that there have not been any direct deaths caused by almost 1,000 Hamas missiles fired at population centers from Gaza. (One man, Dror Hanin, Hy’d, was killed on Tuesday by a mortar shell at the Gaza border.) The international community has a place in its psyche for Israel’s victory so long as it is accompanied by an assortment of tragic events. Thank G-d our fate has not been of this variety; may we continue on that track going forward until this latest conflagration comes to a conclusion.
In the meantime, what are we dealing with? The United Nations Secretary General, the uninfluential and inept Ban Ki-moon, said on Sunday that there must be a ceasefire because far too many Arabs have died. I cannot help reading through the lines of his prepared script and sensing his implication that the situation in Gaza is way out of control primarily because not enough Jews have been killed as a result of the terror rockets being indiscriminately fired into Israel.
Clearly there is a strong element of Divine protection here and the sooner we acknowledge that, the better off all of us and all of Israel will be. Most of our readers are aware of the great miracles that were wrought for our people in those waning days of the Egyptian exile over 3,300 years ago. Our prophets and sages have since clearly indicated that at the end of days, just prior to the final redemption and the arrival of the long-awaited Mashiach, the miracles of the Exodus will pale in comparison to what we will behold before our very eyes.
Is that what we are seeing today with the advent of Iron Dome? Not too long ago, in 2006, in the second Lebanon War in the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert days (remember him?), Israel was a classic sitting duck. Missiles and rockets were being fired at Israel from Lebanon causing deaths, injuries, and significant damage. Despite Israel’s substantial military superiority, the damage and the deaths she absorbed seemed to hand the Hezbollah terrorists a victory despite having much of their territory flattened by the Israeli Air Force.
That was the odd thing about Hezbollah and that odd reality is shared by Hamas. Buried somewhere inside their consistent abysmal defeat is their ability to declare victory. It is a difficult concept to wrap one’s mind around but it is a fascinating modern-day reality. For the Arabs today, victory is concealed inside defeat and destruction and that is why a conventional power like Israel needs to be so careful.
On the Arab side, when the terror merchants are not attacking, they are being paid billions of dollars to placate them and assure their silence and inactivity. Now that Gaza is being carpet-bombed and it will take at least a decade to rebuild, they will also be receiving billions in aid from the international community, ostensibly to rebuild, but mostly to once again assure their crawling into a hole (or tunnel) and remaining silent.
According to the Torah, the miracles wrought for the Jews in Egypt were essentially free of charge. All our people had to do was adhere to the directions of Moses and try to hold the innate desire to be rebellious to a minimum (of which we only did a fair job). If we were able to achieve that, then the miracles from the frogs to the darkness and beyond were flowing spectacularly and freely.
Unfortunately, that is not the case today, though it easily could be. Can you just imagine what the cost of the makkos in Egypt would have been? What would we have done in order to pay for them? There were two reports out earlier this week on the matter of the Iron Dome. One was that the Israeli government is in arrears on payment to Israel Aerospace Industries for close to $250 million. If I were running the Israeli government, I would suggest to the bookkeepers and accountants that this bill be paid–expeditiously.
The other matter on this subject is that IAI is rushing out a ninth Iron Dome battery for immediate deployment, a unit that was scheduled to be delivered in March 2015. This is quite a piece of ingenuity. Earlier this year, at the AIPAC Policy Conference, one of the most fascinating sessions I attended was on the growth and development of Israel’s missile industry. An Israeli official said this week that as each Iron Dome battery comes off the assembly line, it is far more sophisticated than the one produced before it.
Israel is devising some fantastic advanced missile defense devices. Additionally fascinating is where the whole evolution of the idea came from. I suppose the chachamim that run the Jewish state realized that there was no way they were going to be able to convince their implacable enemies from firing rockets and missiles in their direction. The only recourse was to figure out a way to prevent the missiles from landing, and that is exactly what was done.
The result is that as we once again enter into one of those tenuous ceasefires that come and go with supersonic speed, the world is at a loss to understand how it’s possible that Israel did not suffer any deaths as a result of over 1,000 rockets–some of the most advanced variety. The lack of rocket-related deaths is a tribute to the success of the Iron Dome, but I look at it as the Hand of Hashem. And you know what that means–we just might qualify as recipients of the Good L-rd’s largesse despite the communal doubt that we deserve such extraordinary and generous kindness. Perhaps, after all is said and done, we underestimated ourselves. I hope that is the case and that as we move forward these events will herald the dawn of a new day of Israel’s strength and her faith in G-d. Now if we can just get Israel’s leaders to acknowledge it, this would really be big. v
Comments for Larry Gordon are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.