Losing Our Religion: Israel's Air Force Delusions

Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher
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The Israeli Air force in Jerusalem this year
The Israeli Air force in Jerusalem for Israel's Independence Day, this yearCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher

For many years, Israelis have viewed the air force as a kind of deus ex machina – the great savior that protects them, that suddenly appears in the sky and rescues them from any trouble. Their admiration for the air force and complete faith in it and its comforting strength are idolatry. Israelis’ stars and astrological signs are the planes with the world’s most advanced destructive capabilities.

Today, when Israelis picture war, they don’t think about flesh-and-blood soldiers returning wrapped in shrouds and flags to be buried in a military cemetery. Here is what war looks like now for Israel: The air force takes care of the problem. You just need to have a little patience there in the bomb shelters. But in Operation Guardian of the Walls, Israel’s air force fell from the sky and crashed. Its sparkling planes, which children excitedly wave at during the annual Yom Ha’atzmaut flyover, now lie at our feet, smashed like fallen and broken idols.

This Reporter Entered Gaza After the War – and Saw the Full Might and Force of Israel’s Army. LISTEN

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Israelis have lost their religion. The big and strong air force died in Gaza. “Hundreds of sorties and hundreds of planes dropped thousands of precision munitions costing billions of shekels on a small area,” IDF ombudsman Yitzhak Brik said last week, describing last month’s campaign. “And despite everything we were not able to halt the firing of rockets and mortars. … Hamas and Islamic Jihad continued launching … as if nothing happened, and they apparently could have continued to do so for a long time.”

In these hundreds of sorties, the air force killed 67 Palestinian children. Children’s blood was spilled while the soldiers in the ground forces, just like the civilians in Israel, waited patiently for the air force to take care of the problem.

The conclusion is clear: The air force will not take care of the problem. The myth has been refuted. Furthermore, in its doomed attempt to win a war, it kills children.

When 67 children are killed in Gaza, most Israelis don’t care. They care when they themselves are in danger. And so they should really stop repressing the truth and start being scared instead.

“In a multi-front war,” Brik explains, “thousands of missiles and rockets will be fired at Israel … relentlessly in all directions. … Every day, thousands of missiles and rockets will be fired at the population centers, … missiles whose destructive power is 10 times that of Hamas’ rockets. Precision missiles with 100-kilogram warheads. (Hamas has non-precision rockets, the largest of which carries a 90-kilogram warhead, while Hezbollah has precision missiles with 500-kilogram and larger warheads.)

“Imagine a nonstop rain of precision missiles, suicide drones and cruise missiles, some with warheads weighing hundreds of kilograms, falling on our heads,” Brik continues. “Our enemies have the ability to fight for weeks or months thanks to the large arsenals they have, which contain 250,000 missiles and rockets … and it is very hard to locate them and destroy them.”

Israelis: Brik is saying that Nasrallah is right; you have every reason to tremble with fear upon hearing his threats. The air force won’t save you. It will be necessary to shed the blood of very many IDF soldiers in a war in Lebanon. Maybe a nuclear bomb will help you – because Brik’s description sounds about as scary as the terrible scenarios that prompted Moshe Dayan to propose on the second day of the Yom Kippur War that the nuclear option be readied. And you know that Brik’s description of things is accurate and realistic. You were there, after all, in the shelters and stairwells when Hamas and Islamic Jihad didn’t stop firing missiles and rockets at you. You know that the air force won’t help you.

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