Israel: Lion or Lamb?

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.


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As military analyst Yaakov Katz wrote recently in The Jerusalem Post, “Something has changed in Israel.” Once, it was renowned for daring military operations like the 1972 capture of five Syrian intelligence officers, the 1976 raid on the hijacked aircraft at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, and even as recently as 2007, the airstrike on a Syrian nuclear reactor. Today – following the Gilad Schalit swap last month for more than 1,000 convicted Palestinian terrorists – it is perceived by many as a country that caves to the arrogant demands of its enemies.

With Iran on the verge of acquiring the nuclear capability it needs to, as Ahmadinejad is fond of saying, “wipe Israel from the map,” many wonder if Israel is considering a possible preemptive military strike. But is Israel the country it once was? These days it seems it can barely push back against the Obama administration’s pressure to negotiate with Hamas and return to indefensible borders. Does an Israel that seemingly surrendered to the demands of terrorists have what it takes to neutralize the looming threat of a nuclear-weaponized Iran?

Yaakov Katz is the military correspondent and defense analyst for The Jerusalem Post and the Israel correspondent for Jane’s Defence Weekly, the international military magazine. Katz led the Post’s coverage of the recent IDF wars and operations, including the Second Lebanon War against Hezbollah in 2006 and Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in 2009. He served in the IDF Armored Corps and lectures widely in the U.S. and Israel on military affairs. His first book, Israel vs. Iran: The Shadow War was a 2011 national bestseller in Israel and will be published in the U.S. next March.

Earlier this month at Temple Ner Maarav in Encino, California, Katz spoke on the recent, world-changing upheavals in the Middle East, particularly how the so-called Arab Spring is quickly degenerating into an Islamic Winter. He discussed how dramatic developments like the Schalit exchange are impacting Israel, its national security, and its future.

For Katz, one word characterizes the so-called Arab Spring: uncertainty. Will the Muslim Brotherhood make Egypt an Islamic state? When will Syria’s Assad be deposed, and when he does, into whose hands will his extensive arsenal of ballistic missiles and chemical weapons fall? Will the Iranian regime itself succumb to revolution? Such questions are at the core of the Israeli Defense Force’s challenge: how to prepare for the various elements of uncertainty arising in the wake of the Arab Spring/Islamic Winter.

The big winner and beneficiary of the Middle Eastern turmoil referred to blithely by the mainstream media as the Arab Spring is Iran. With Arabic regimes toppling left and right, Iran remains standing strong, and a looming threat to Israel, which it openly promises to obliterate. The window of opportunity for an Israeli military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities is closing rapidly. Katz says such a military option is unlikely to be chosen soon, but Israeli President Shimon Peres said recently that

The possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option.

Where Iran is concerned, Katz pointed out, there are two clocks ticking: the nuclear clock and the revolution clock. Both are ticking down, but which will run out of time first?

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  • matt

    It will be fine we have done this before, we know what we have done. The result of this was decided years ago, what you see now was planned way back in 2005. Israel is just a pawn in a greater game as indeed is Iran.

  • elihu

    @matt,
    And Matt, would you like to expound upon this plan that was devised in 2005? Maybe you could enlighten us all by telling us who are those who move the chess pieces? Please, I invite you to let us in on this 'planned' exercise…

    (Psalm 122.v6.)

  • paulBass

    israel has always been a lamb its time for it to a lion
    any terrorist can slaughter its enemies.
    the right to be called a nation is when you can live in peace with your enemies

  • Ronnie

    Mark Tapson, what a load of crap you write. Islamic extremism and moderate islam is growing in the Middle East because of what Israel has done. You people disposses millions of Palestinians and then claim they are not partners in peace?? Right…. If there is a revolution in Iran, the people will choose to be a nuclear power. That is something every single Iranian supports, all polls have indicated that.

    • Kolender

      "You people"? I think we know your thought process, Ronnie

      • drtruth

        One way or another Israel’s greatness from the past has not been lost and will be forced to show itself in the future as it will be faced with annihilation by all the muslim states which surround her. And she won’t be able to use conventional warfare against a billion muslims as in the past. This will be like no other war and will define the world’ future for the next 1000 yrs. For if Israel is defeated then the west in its entirety will follow. This will never happen. Israel’s greatness will soon be seen by the whole world.
        Israel’s greatness is G..d’s greatness. Israel will prevail.

    • stern

      Actually Mark, you're the one who's written "a load of crap". You have swallowed Palestinian propaganda hook, line and sinker.

      We ("you people" indeed!!!) did not disposes anyone. Jews bought the land they farmed – and the League of Nations gave us all of Mandatory Palestine to the Jews (including Jordan). Despite this, Britain gave 80% of the Mandate to the Arabs (now Jordan), and then the UN (successor to the League of Nations and inheritor of its obligations) split the remaining 20%, giving the Jews less than half! Yet still, this was too much for the Arabs.

      As long as the Arabs refuse to allow a single Jew to live in peace in the MIddle East, there will be conflict.

    • guest

      Go back to Stormfront, creep.

    • crypticguise

      Ronnie, you ignorant jackass, I suggest that you study theTh history of Israel and the MIddle East. Your asinine comments indicate you're ignorant of both. Muslims have been killing Jews and Christians in the name of Islam since Mohammed was kicked out of Mecca and he an his band of 132 Merry Muslims moved their camels to Medina.

      I personally despise liberal ignoramuses who attack Israel and Jews and support the murderers, rapists, plunderers, thieves of Islam. Israel really has no choice, they will only survive by destroying their enemies.

      There is no such thing as "moderate" Islam. Mohammed .. his Muslim barbarians to drive all the Jews out of Arabia and once he had established Jihad in Medina, Jews were referred to as apes/monkeys and pigs. Muslims in the MidEast continue to be 7th century barbarians, and Israel has built a modern Western Democratic Nation out of the desert.

      The Jews and Arabs of Israel prosper and live decent lives; the 400 million Muslims surronding these 6 MILLION Jews produce nothing but hatred and death.

      • Nasir

        then y u people say that muslims don,t bust ur bloody ass, u r also killing their love ones. only way to control u is then "in ur way" to kill u bastards.

  • stern

    Clearly, this piece was written before this morning's news. From Canada's National Post newspaper:
    "Explosion in Teheran could end Iran's nuclear program, Israeli General says."
    "The explosion at the site where ground-to-ground missiles are developed could delay or even bring a complete halt to the production of these missiles," General Itai Baron, head of the military's intelligence research unit, told a parliamentary committee for defence and foreign affairs.

    Gee, I wonder what caused that explosion – and another one today in Istafahn?

    • StephenD

      The world cannot destroy Israel. "If G_d is for you, who can be against you?"
      Israel is too sharp to rely on diplomacy from the likes of Obama and Hillary, France and Britain. Israel is the one in the cross-hairs and will do (and should do) all it can to ensure its survival. Viva ISRAEL!

      • g_jochnowitz

        God is an embittered anti-Semite, as I explain in my poem:

        Sacrifice is just too gory,
        So Abraham made up a story:
        “My son Isaac is not dead
        Because an angel saved him,” Abraham said.

        The Lord had different views.
        He never forgave the Jews.
        The Israelites who had been slaves
        Died in the desert, without even graves.

        Because the Lord’s wrath was fired,
        A biological son of His own He sired.
        “Listen to me, each and every Jew.
        I sacrificed My son. Why can’t you?”

        The Diaspora would last and last.
        Then the birth of Israel made exile the past.
        “Accept my child,” jihadists implored.
        “Yum yum, delicious,” said the Lord.

        • ziontruth

          There's nothing I can say to sway your opinion (that's a general truth about deep-seated thoughts), so I'll only say this: The day of "I am Joseph!" will arrive, and when it does, all the truth will be laid bare, and the perplexing questions will all be answered.

          Note: I'm not making a hellfire threat here. Far be it from me to taunt a troubled soul. I'm just pleading with you to open your mind to the promise that this long and lachrymose tale of Jewish history will end with a fabulous revealing and a glory that compensates for everything. Rachel will not forever be weeping for her sons who are no more—they will return.

          • g_jochnowitz

            Hi ziontruth:
            You're right that you haven't swayed me. Nevertheless, I appreciated your thoughtful and good-natured reply.

        • sod

          Sorry to hear that you will never have the chance to be saved!

          • sod

            Sorry for such statement, God is the one who determines who can or can't be saved. Wish the Word reaches you and soften your heart.

  • Bert

    In the past Israel had the option of fighting a limited war and avoiding mass civilian deaths among her enemies. That option is now disappearing. Tens of thousands of rockets by Hamas, Hezbolla, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, etc. all are poised to overwhelm and destroy Israel by targeting Israeli civilians as well as defense installations. The Muslims are OPENLY preparing a second Holocaust against the Six Million Jews that now live in Israel. Also, the nations and the U.N. are not in opposition to this but they strongly oppose Israel when it defends itself.

    Consequence #1: Morally, Israel now owes NOTHING to her enemies, or to the world community, which is O.K. with another Holocaust.

    Consequence #2: In order for Israel to survive it must be prepared to quickly neutralize all the rockets aimed at her BEFORE they are fired. The only way to do this is for Israel to use their nuclear radiation weapons to destroy military personnel over a sufficient area at ALL rocket installations which are deliberately located among Arab civilizations. This would mean massive Arab deaths but by now, no one in the world has the moral status to ask Israel to commit suicide to appease those who hate her.

    Consequence #3: The price of oil and natural gas will spike and remain high for a time. But western nations are already facing an economic meltdown even before the next war. To spike energy prices now would greatly compound the damage to the west. But it is the west that is bringing all this ruination upon itself.

    It would be advisable if Israel openly put the world, and the Arabs, on notice right now, about what will happen next time they try to exterminate Jews.

    • Jerry

      Dear Bert,

      You write, "But it is the west that is bringing all this ruination upon itself."

      You don't really expect the West to accept their responsibility and swallow Israel's need for survival at the expense of many thousands of deaths, do you.

      It is too easy for Western leaders to say, "Yes, you Jews deserve to live, but not at our expense." Essentially that is what they mean when they say that Israel has the right to defend itself, but…"

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Does an Israel that seemingly surrendered to the demands of terrorists have what it takes to neutralize the looming threat of a nuclear-weaponized Iran?

    They are not terrorists! They are Jihadists instead. In fact, terrorism in the Islamic world is un-Islamic and therefore blasphemous. Indeed, terrorism is a manifestation of Western civilization only, is always only violent as its name implies, and can be for any number of political causes. While jihad, on the other hand, is holy fighting in the cause of Allah against non-Muslim unbelievers to make Islam supreme, is a manifestation of Islamic civilization only, unlike terrorism can be both violent and non-violent, and again is always in the cause of Allah.

    Apparently this writer as usual is very dedicated and determined to carve out a career of confusing and misleading his readers.

    “By reaching a deal now, Netanyahu clears his desk and is able to focus on Israel’s true strategic predicaments.”

    Actually, the only sane deal for Israel was either Hamas frees Shalit immediately or otherwise Israel eradicates Hamas. Any other deal was insane and suicidal.

    An audience member asked if Israel could put forward a tougher image by adopting the death penalty for convicted terrorists.

    Yeah right…the only terrorists in Israel are Jews or other non-Muslims. Thus, that moonbat wants to let the jihadists off the hook, while at the same time he proposes executing Jewish and other non-Muslim terrorists. Great.

    But Katz noted that studies show, unsurprisingly, that capital punishment is no deterrent to Palestinian suicide bombers. As the terrorists often remind us, they love death more than we love life.

    Actually, all Muslim jihadists are inculcated cradle to grave to love death in the cause of Allah more than they love life. Terrorists, on the other hand, are just unhinged Western political extremists like Anders Breivik and Timothy McVeigh. Indeed, the writer of this garbage is so consumed and confused by PC multiculturalism and mentally incompetent as a direct result, that he doesn't know if he is coming or going.

    The Palestinians, by the way, are definitely not partners in the peace process, Katz noted. They have one goal only: to delegitimize and isolate Israel until the Palestinians get everything they want.

    Indeed, the so-called Palestinians, which were created out of whole cloth by the Soviet KGB in Moscow in 1964 as a disinformation campaign to camouflage the Islamic world's permanent and perpetual jihad of conquest under a cloak of nationalism, which is ludicrous in itself since nationalism is also un-Islamic as Muslims believe in a worldwide Caliphate instead, are in reality the proxy of the Islamic world. Hence, the so-called Oslo Peace Process is nothing other than non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad being employed to weaken Israel and to dupe gullible useful idiots at the same time, as all jihads are permanent.

    Katz claims that there is one characteristic the Israelis can be particularly proud of: resilience. Resilience is what enabled Israel to defeat its enemies in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, the Palestinian Intifadas, the wars in Lebanon. “That same resilience,” Katz is confident, “will continue to ensure the greatest miracle of modern times” – Israel’s existence and future.

    With respect to resilience, what is the use of maintaining a nuclear weapons arsenal if the Israelis lack the resilience, intestinal fortitude, and will to use them even when it is to stop a deadly mortal and genocidal threat? Furthermore, what will be the message sent to Israel's Islamic enemies if the Israeli people lacks the resilience, intestinal fortitude, and will to use nuclear weapons to stop the Iranian mortal nuclear threat.

    Indeed, if worst comes to worst and the Israeli people demonstrates that they have lost their resilience, intestinal fortitude, and will to use nuclear weapons even when faced with inevitable nuclear destruction, what will the future hold for Israel other than its inevitable demise?

  • sod

    The Bible says do not kill, which means do not murder. When someone tries to do harm to your, you have the right to defend youself.

    Since Hamas declared that one Isreal = 1000 terrorists, it's not hard to predict that when there's a war, for every one Israel casulty, there would be one thousand death for the terrorists. Sorry Hamas, you just cursed yourself to death.

  • Rev. Roy Trepanier

    Yes, the Jewish people are extremely RESILIENT, RESOURCEFUL and RELIABLE. They have survived where all other ancient nations have devolved into the dust of history. Have you talked to a Moabite lately ?? How about a Hittite or Jebusite? Maybe a Philistine ??
    Sorry, ObamaYomoma, there is NO demise in the near or eternal future for Israel. Israel is GOD'S land, teh Jews are GOD"S people and Jerusalem is GOD"S city. You see, it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that has sustained and protected and kept the Jewish people for some 4,000 years now, NOT their resilience or their military !!!
    You mention their 5 wars…just look at those wars from a military perspective, or ask a military person and you will find it "miraculous" that they could have survived so outnumbered and outgunned. The history and the facts are there…
    Israel + God..5…Arabs…0.
    And it is the same God that will preserve them once again, for the last and final time. Get ready and get right…
    Rev. Roy ….<><