Israeli soldiers in Khan Yunis, the southern Gaza Strip, Jan. 14, 2024. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

By Hillel Fuld

Trigger warning! This is a very unpopular opinion that will surely anger a lot of people.

One of the things that has bothered me most about this war is the fact that it’s taking us this long to wipe out Hamas. After all the wars we won against multiple armies, some of which took just days, how is it that we’re this many months in to a war against a terrorist organization and not even an army? Is the IDF losing its edge? Did it already? Is the old strong courageous IDF a thing of the past? I don’t know about you, but this issue has been weighing on me for months.

Well, let’s talk about it.

If you’re too lazy to keep reading, I’ll give you the punchline. No. The IDF isn’t weaker. The IDF is infinitely stronger now than ever before.

So then, how do I explain the fact that we’ve been at this war for six months and there is no end in sight?

The answer is simple. The IDF hasn’t changed, the nature of war has changed.

Mark my words. Not only will Israel win this war, but Israel is establishing itself as we speak as the global authority on urban warfare. All countries will be turning to Israel in the future to learn how to fight a war in the 21st century.

So why is it taking so long?

Well, for a lot of reasons.

Let’s start with the enemy.

Wars have rules. Rules of engagement. Certain things can’t be done in war. There are war crimes. When two sides of a war are playing by the same rules, there can be a clear winner and a clear loser. Victory is clearly defined.

But not in this war.

Our enemy in this war has no restrictions or guidelines. There is nothing they can’t, won’t, and haven’t done.

I don’t need to tell you this. You’ve read about it.

• Using innocent women and children as shields as they attack IDF soldiers?

• Setting up bases in a hospital?

• Attacking from within nurseries?

• Hiding weapons and ammunition in kids’ rooms?

That’s them.

On our side?

• Ignoring human shields and attacking anyway?

• Flattening the hospital that’s hosting the terror base?

• Bombing nurseries from which our enemies attack?

• Destroying kids’ rooms because they are storing weapons and ammunition?

So you see, we’re playing chess and they’re playing basketball.

They have their own rules and we won’t play by their rules. They sure as heck won’t play by ours.

But that’s only the beginning.

What did every war ever have in common that this war does not?

Um, they were all conducted above ground. You know, like a battlefield…Not this one.

There has never been a war that is primarily fought underground.

I don’t know if any of us understand the complexity here.

A friend fighting in Gaza told me that he cannot walk ten steps without stepping on an opening to a terror tunnel. They created a full blown underground system that is larger than the London Underground.

Add to that, that Hamas had decades to prepare for Israel’s ground invasion. Setting up traps in tunnels, elaborate hiding places, and more. They had all the time and money in the world to ensure a maximum number of IDF casualties.

But it doesn’t end there. Not even close.

Again, imagine the old school battlefield. Or if you want to look at more modern wars, there are tanks, artillery, infantry, and Air Force, all with a clear target and a clear mission.

Now forget all of that.

There is no battlefield. There is no clear target. There is a clear mission but total lack of clarity of how to finish this mission because there are surprises waiting for the soldiers at every corner.

The separation between civilian buildings and military structures does not exist. The battlefield here is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and that is Hamas’ best weapon, its own people.

Again, we’re playing chess, where the objective of the game is to minimize civilian death and maximize the elimination of terrorists. They’re playing basketball where the objective of the game is to maximize civilian deaths thereby getting the world to pressure Israel to withdraw and end the war.

IDF soldiers in Gaza are facing unprecedented complexity that has never been seen in the history of wars. They can’t walk a single inch without the threat of an attack. They could be attacked from above using an RPG or a sniper. They could be attacked from below using grenades and automatic weapons. They could be attacked using anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles from within buildings. They can be attacked by walking into a booby trapped structure. And remember, they can’t just fire indiscriminately to clear the area before entering. There might be civilians there.

Add to that, Hamas has zero concerns about losing people. They thrive on it because every single person killed is presented as innocent, a lie the world has completely adopted and used to pressure Israel. So Israel wants minimal death. Hamas wants maximum death. Chess and basketball.

Also, we define victory as getting our hostages back and eliminating Hamas. They define victory as literally anything else. If one Hamas terrorist is left alive, in their book, they won this war. In fact, in a sick and twisted way, their leadership already thinks they won the war by the very fact that Israel is still fighting.

And finally, let’s talk tech. The amount of tech being used in this war for the first time in history is truly insane. That requires a learning curve.

Drones have the potential to change the game. They can go into tight spaces. They can detect terrorists in places humans can’t. They can give the IDF a birds-eye view of an area. Drones are a no-brainer in a war like this. The only issue is that no one knows how to maximize the effectiveness of drones without training. There are endless types of drones. There are tiny bug size consumer drones. Then there are larger consumer drones that use GPS to maintain stability. Well, that can’t work. So we need to remove the GPS chip from all the drones. Otherwise they pose a threat and can be used against us. Then there are larger drones that can carry weight. Then there are FPV drones that can fly in much tighter spaces but require more training. Then there are commercial drones. Thermal drones. Long range drones. And the list just goes on and on.

Robotics are also used extensively in this war. Then there is endless vision tech, some of which was developed by Israeli startups. There is tech that can see through walls. There is tech that can see around corners. All of this requires training.

We have a war between two sides who are playing a totally different game with different rules and different definitions of what constitutes victory. You have one side with zero restrictions and zero need to behave morally. You have the other side that is held to a higher standard of morality than anyone, and one little mess up can cause an international crisis. You have one side that wants to minimize civilian death and one side that’ll do anything to maximize it. You have one side behaving like cockroaches and hiding in every corner and under every rock and you have another side that has to use cutting edge tech to kill the bugs.

The bottom line is this: What the IDF has accomplished in this war is not only incredible, it is historically unprecedented. Right now everyone is falsely claiming that Israel is committing genocide or killing indiscriminately, but when this war is over and the real numbers are exposed, the world will be in utter shock about how Israel won this war with historically low casualty numbers on its side and the total destruction of a terrorist organization that had decades to prepare for the war. The few military strategists who are already analyzing this war have said clearly that what Israel is doing in Gaza right now is borderline miraculous and has never been done before.

If you want to get a clear picture of just how complex this war is and just how sophisticated the IDF is, just think about all the assassinations Israel has carried out, or even just look at the latest one carried out in Syria. This was a highly senior and top secret meeting between the highest ranking Iranian official outside of Iran along with his deputy and multiple other senior terrorists from Iran and the Islamic Jihad.

This wasn’t Israel’s first assassination. We’ve been doing this for decades. The world recognizes Israel’s superior intelligence capabilities. These officials clearly recognized the threat of being assassinated by Israel and took measures accordingly.

No one knew about this meeting. The meeting was intentionally held in a very sensitive and explosive area with several government buildings all around it, including the Iranian consulate as well as the Canadian one. That was not an accident.

And yet, Israel was able somehow, and I genuinely cannot understand how, to get the intel of who was in the meeting and where it was being held. They were able to take off in Israel, fly into enemy airspace without getting detected, and then conduct a precision attack that would take out everyone in the room and cause zero damage to the government buildings in its vicinity.

We read about this news and then continue scrolling. Few people understand just how complex this mission was and how miraculous it is that it was a perfect success. We take it for granted now, but military strategists will be teaching and analyzing this event for decades into the future.

So, no, the IDF is not weaker than in the past. The IDF is learning on the job how to fight a war that is nearly impossible to win, succeeding, and maintaining historically low casualty numbers on its side. There is no country or military that can teach Israel how to win this war. It’s never been done before.

Israel isn’t weaker. The nature of war has changed dramatically and Israel is writing the rule book in real time while withstanding unprecedented pressure from all directions. Military pressure. Political pressure. Diplomatic pressure.

And I haven’t even mentioned Hezbollah in the north. It’s a new world and Israel is adapting to it in real time. The statement that Israel is the strongest and most moral army in the world has never been truer than it is today! n

Hillel Fuld, named Israel’s top marketer and “The Man Helping Transform Startup Nation into Scale-Up Nation” by Forbes, is a tech journalist, startup marketer, and technology expert. Hillel’s work has been featured in CNBC, Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and many other leading tech publications.  Hillel was recently named the 7th most influential tech blogger on the Internet and among the top 100 most influential social media personalities across the globe. You can read more about Hillel’s work at hillelfuld.com.

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