This week, the head of the Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg, said what he thought to the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. "It's being called the Arab Spring, but it could turn into a radical Islamic winter," he said. "And that increases the chance of an all-out, total war, which could even include the use of weapons of mass destruction."
His remarks caused a storm. Even his cautious phrasing (he said "chance" ) was an affront to the political correctness that has been formulated in Israel regarding the true nature of this "spring." In contrast to the dreamers, he called a spade, a spade.
Eisenberg's analysis (which was meant to be a situational assessment, not a defiant declaration ) drew a reprimand from Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Barak's aide, Amos Gilad, joined the fray, telling Israel Radio's Reshet Bet's Aryeh Golan, "Our security situation has never been better." The same declaration, word for word, was made by our nation's leaders on the eve of the Yom Kippur War. Surely anyone who remembers this trembled.
Is "the conception" - and history as well - repeating itself?
"None of Israel's rivals is interested in initiating a war against it," said Barak. None of them? Really? Not even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Why exactly has Hassan Nasrallah been stockpiling thousands of rockets? Have we really heard no hostile voices coming from Egypt? Why are missiles, some of them capable of hitting Ben-Gurion International Airport, being smuggled into Gaza? And does anyone really know what might happen next in Amman?
"They know very well why it's not worth it for them to use chemical weapons," warned Barak. "They know very well why it doesn't pay for them to even think of using such weaponry against Israel."
Sorry, but they don't know. Because Barak and his ilk, the serial threateners, have taught them that threats like "It's not worth it for them" are idle threats.
During the first intifada, that of the stones and firebombs, our leaders threatened that if the Palestinians used live weapons, the rule would be "in war, as in war." But during the second intifada, when they shot at us and blew us up, killing and maiming hundreds, it took a full 18 months of "restraint is power" before Operation Defensive Shield was launched.
Then came the next stage of threats: If they dare to fire rockets at our civilian population, their cities, residents and all, would be toast. Among those saying this were the greats of Hebrew literature and the top left-wing politicians.
So they said it. So what? Our enemies know very well that threats of "It's not worth it for them to even think of using chemical weapons" are empty threats, and always will be.
Israeli guns are indeed loaded with lethal bullets, but Israel - certainly while Barak is defense minister- will never pull the trigger. Not until Doomsday, which we pray will never occur, but not before. The Jews, even if their citizens survive a chemical attack, will never respond in kind. So if rockets continue to rain down on the residents of the south, even if they have a chemical component, the response will be no more than another Operation Cast Lead, and once again will be concluded too soon.
No Israeli campaign ever ends with the enemy's surrender, which is one of the reasons why we are eternally at war. If we aren't prepared to defeat our enemies, once and for all, with conventional weapons, what's the point of making hollow threats of any other type of retaliation?