As Europe reels from a pandemic of deadly Islamist terror attacks, the European Union is turning to Israel for assistance. From its formidable cyber capabilities to its tactics and training, Israel is a recognized world leader in the fight against terrorism and nations plagued by Islamist violence and terrorism are seeking its counsel, expertise and technology.
But the fight against terrorism isn’t the only place where Israelis have left their mark. When Israel acquired statehood in 1948, it was a semi-arid land plagued by chronic drought. But thanks to a combination of conservation, recycling, drip irrigation and desalinization, Israel no longer suffers from water shortages and in fact, exports large quantities of water to Jordan. California, which has suffered from extreme drought in recent years, has partnered with Israeli water technology companies to alleviate its water problems. Texas has followed suit and many third world countries have requested Israeli assistance in water purification.
Israel has also become a leader in green technology. Starved of natural resources, Israel has had to resort to innovative methods to meet its energy demands. Every Israeli home is equipped with solar panels to capture the sun’s rays and convert it into usable energy. By 2017 Israel will have the distinction of possessing the tallest solar tower in the world, dwarfing similar structures in Europe and the Israeli government has committed itself to making renewable energy account for 10 percent of its total consumption by 2020.
After a catastrophic blackout in India in July 2012 that left between 600-700 million Indian citizens without power, India turned to Israel for assistance. An Israeli renewable energy company, SDE, was tasked with supplying hundreds of megawatts of power to India by utilizing technology that harnesses the energy generated by the ocean’s waves. SDE has also signed lucrative deals with China as well as other developing nations.
When man-made and natural disasters struck Haiti, Japan, Turkey, Kosovo, Nepal and the Philippines, Israel was among the first to send medical and rescue assistance. Israel’s relief efforts in Haiti were particularly impressive and garnered significant positive international attention.
In every field, from cyber warfare and defense to green energy to water technology to disaster relief, Israel has contributed immeasurably to the world but it is in the military realm where Israel has made lasting contributions that have made the world significantly safer. On at least five separate occasions, Israeli military action changed the course of history for the better.
On June 7, 1967 Israeli forces liberated the eastern part of Jerusalem from oppressive Muslim rule. Jerusalem is home to the two great monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity. The city held little significance for Muslims who prayed toward Mecca and Medina. From the period of 1948 through 1967, the eastern part of the city, with its holy Christian and Jewish sites was under Muslim occupation. The Jordanians violated an agreement that would have permitted Israelis to visit holy sites. Jewish sites were desecrated or destroyed and the Christian population declined markedly as a result of stealth oppression.
The Israeli liberation instantly transformed the city from a depressed backwater to a thriving metropolis. Today, all faiths are permitted to worship and pray as they please without fear of prosecution. Holy sites are protected and access to them is unrestricted.
On July 4, 1976, when the United States was celebrating its bicentennial, Israeli para-commandos flew 4,000km in C-130 Hercules aircraft to rescue just over 100 Israelis and Jews who were being held captive by a joint PLO-West German terror squad at Entebbe airport in Uganda. The operation succeeded in wiping out the terror cell and rescuing nearly all the hostages but the positive political reverberations were far greater.
The operation humiliated Uganda’s strongman Idi Amin and resulted in the destruction of a large part of his air force. It also began a process that eventually led to his overthrow and democratization.
Western nations, who were experiencing their own headaches in dealing with the skyjacking scourge of the 1970s, took solace in the fact that finally, a nation with fortitude, took decisive and successful military action against those who waged war on civilization. Following the Entebbe raid, skyjackings tapered off markedly and the West German terror cell that carried out the attack in conjunction with the PLO, became largely ineffectual thanks to the liquidation of two of its founding members during the raid as well as post-raid defections.
In June 1981 and then again in September 2007, Israel prevented nuclear bombs from falling into the hands of rogue regimes. Both Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Syria’s Bashar Assad, both of whom gassed their own people, sought to obtain nuclear weapons. The former purchased the know-how from the French while the latter obtained the technology from the North Koreans and Iranians. Precision Israeli military strikes turned both bomb-making facilities into expensive heaps of scrap metal.
In 1981, Israel was condemned for launching the preventative strike against Iraq’s nuclear facility but in the years following, many world leaders including Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney recognized the prescient nature of the Israeli action. Had Israel not acted in the manner that it did, there’s a reasonably good chance that Saddam Hussein would now be in control of much of the world’s oil wealth and Hezbollah or ISIS would be nuclear-capable.
In June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon with the aim of expelling the PLO from the country. In response to the Israeli incursion, Syria moved SAM-6 missile batteries into Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, a provocative action that posed a direct challenge to Israeli air supremacy. On June 9, the Israeli Air Force, utilizing new tactics and technologies, decimated the SAM batteries, fully destroying 16 of them. The remaining four were destroyed in follow-up strikes. Ninety Soviet-made, Syrian Mig-21 and Mig-23 fighter jets sent to protect the missiles proved no match for Israel’s F-15 and F-16 fighters and were swatted out of the sky.
The situation of the ground was equally lopsided. Syrian T-72 tanks, the newest in the Soviet arsenal, proved to be no match for Israel’s Merkava-1 tank. Nine T-72 tanks were engaged and destroyed without a single Israeli loss.
In 1992, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Israel’s former air force commander, David Ivri, was informed by the Czech deputy chief of staff that the dominance of western technology over Soviet technology during the 1982 Lebanon war was one of the key factors that led to Glasnost and the end of the Cold War.
Israel is a nation that is much maligned and vilified. Most of the vitriol is spewed by rabid Islamists and their anti-Semitic allies affiliated with either the radical left or the fringe right. For these groups, there is no hope. They are steeped in mindless hate and xenophobia. This piece is however, intended for those not so predisposed and should persuade those who are uninformed or misinformed that when it comes to right and wrong, it is abundantly clear which side Israel is on.