Israel Is Engaged in a Long War of Attrition, But Time Is on Its Side

(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Efraim Inbar - In June 1967, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) waged war alone against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, achieving a stunning victory in six days. Israel's military achievement went a long way towards convincing the Arab world that Israel cannot be easily destroyed by military force and is a fact the Arabs must learn to live with. It took Egypt three military defeats (1948, 1956, and 1973) and a war of attrition (1968-70) within a span of 25 years to give up the goal of destroying Israel, but today it is at peace with Israel. The 1982 Lebanon War was the last time Israel fought a conventional war. For the past three decades, Israel has been challenged primarily by sub-state actors, such as Hamas (a Sunni militia) and Hizbullah (a Shiite militia). Because of their religious-ideological zeal, they are more difficult to deter than states, and their learning curve is much slower. Israel is engaged in a long war of attrition against religiously motivated enemies who believe both God and history are on their side. The patient, repetitive use of force is not glamorous, but it will eventually do the trick. Time is, in fact, on Israel's side. The writer is professor emeritus of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and the founding director of the BESA Center.

2017-04-07 00:00:00

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