When the Jewish month of Tishri starts, we have many worries. During this month, generals give interviews, one after the other, on the basis of an empty slot in the profusion of newspapers' holiday supplements. And there is nowhere to hide - we have to check whether our air-raid shelters are ready. Ever since 1973, on every Yom Kippur, I shout "Ya" from the depths of my air-raid shelter, not necessarily from the synagogue.
Two generals, from the north and the east, have already managed to say their words in honor of the new year, yet they are ready to add more. One is General Nothing because he has learned nothing, the other is General Lazy because he is too lazy to block the settlers' wicked deeds, to remove a roadblock from the road to Bethlehem or a mobile home from a hilltop. He too, like his predecessors, complains about the situation but will not lift a finger to improve it. Was it they the outgoing prime minister was addressing when he said: "I read the statements of our generals and I say, how is it possible that they have learned nothing?"
One of the generals has neither the strength nor the determination to enforce the law in the territories, and the other, by contrast, "has imposing strength as compared with what there was during the previous war." He also has determination. Both of them were chief cooks during the Second Lebanon War, when the dishes were overdone, but the next war, for a change, they plan to win "with speed, with intensity, and without winking at world public opinion." The next war is always the most successful of all wars.
True, in the summer of 2006 they destroyed half of Beirut, they brought ruin on 120,000 homes in Lebanon, they caused hundreds of thousands to flee, they launched, by all accounts, tens of thousands of mortars and cluster bombs - who's counting? Never have so many weapons been used on so small an area, but the victory was still not complete. When the next round comes, it will be different: the Dahiya Doctrine - referring to the densely populated Beirut neighborhood flattened by the Israel Defense Forces during the last war - will be applied, "disproportionate force" will bring about "tremendous damage and destruction," the victory will be complete, and to hell with public opinion at home or abroad.
Veteran generals' urges are never contained, they are merely fired up anew. They have a certain proficiency in operating military forces, but they are ignoramuses about recognizing their limitations. Of course, our generals will instruct us - when and where did any recent war end with a decisive victory? When was a war decided from the air? Who is the victor when there is no clear victory, the strong side or perhaps actually the weak side? And what are the objectives of the war, which are so close at hand, to such a strong hand, and when these are achieved, the country will be calm for 40 years. And what indeed is a "victory" when we are referring to guerrilla organizations? And how do we go to another war and win it without a broad national consensus? And how will this consensus be found before all other possibilities have been exhausted, which have not even started to be exhausted.
On the 35th anniversary of the "October War" this week, the heads of the Syrian army stressed their desire for peace and not war - that is what the official Syrian news agency reported. Israeli generals in their stead are sharpening their tongues and swords, and there is not a word about peace.
I must reveal a closely guarded secret. If for a whole year, including the eves of holidays, there were to be silence here, all our enemies would be under pressure, rather than us being inside our shelters. Silence is a kind of deterrent. And we can leave the threats to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, for whom harsh words are an art, and whose threats will always be worse than ours.
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