The enormous feeling of deprivation is certainly gripping the stomachs of Air Force pilots and making their gorge rise. They are asking themselves why they get no festivals when they bombard convoys of rockets in Syria. Why, they ask, are they treated like ghosts when they intercept rockets on Sudan’s soil? What are they? Are they children who ring the doorbell and run, while everybody pretends they did not see or hear them? How is the naval commando unit’s operation in the Red Sea any different from the bombing of a missile base near Baalbek? After all, the Syrian rockets that were sailing on the sea are no different from the rockets Syria transfers to Hezbollah.
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The answer is simple. The Air Force pilots are fighting against small enemies: Syria, Hezbollah, Iran. But the navy is fighting against America — or, more accurately, against President Obama. Flights shrouded in mystery — surgical strikes against arms convoys, bombardments of missile bases in the dead of night — cannot be used against the American enemy. If America understands big productions, it will get a whole opera. A ship, rockets, an impressive flotilla, a choir of spokespeople and a well-known villain: Iran.
But this time, Iran is just the supposed real enemy. After all, a few dozen rockets and mortar shells are no threat to Israel’s existence. The purpose of the jazz festival at the Red Sea was to rip the mask off the face of Washington, which has been carrying on a romantic affair with the same Iran that is developing nuclear weapons. Obama, who betrayed the fundamental principles of the agreement to obey Israel, who sabotaged AIPAC’s initiative to impose further sanctions on Iran, and who is straying from the policy of winking that constituted the basis of the peace process with the Palestinians, needs to be taught a lesson. While the Israeli propaganda campaign is titled “The true face of Iran,” anyone who scratches a bit of the paint off the slogan will find Obama’s name instead of Iran’s.
All right, then. Obama is indeed an enemy. But why are we, the loyal citizens of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, throwing rotten tomatoes at the show he organized? There is a simple answer to that: We are fed up with army reality shows. After all, what is so surprising about the fact that we won this time? Is it so amazing to keep track, for weeks, of a rocket shipment and put pins in a map in each port where the ship dropped anchor, or to intercept a missile convoy leaving a Syrian army base? That is what a well-trained army with “the best intelligence on earth” is supposed to do. That is an obvious skill that every citizen who pays his hard-earned money to maintain this army expects. All the exaggerated excitement over the military’s good performance could be a hint that the child is not really a genius. On second thought, though, after the Mavi Marmara affair maybe we really should be enthusiastic that this operation succeeded. After all, the captain of the Klos C is Turkish, as are some of his sailors.
And there is another answer. If the prime minister already decided to intercept a ship and display the rockets it was carrying for all to see, the show had to be particularly impressive as there is a great deal of bitter competition in the reality show market. Every few weeks, army intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi reminds us how many rockets are aimed at Israel’s head. This is a real horror show. The last time, he reported to us that their number had reached 170,000. How can Kochavi’s enormous stockpile be compared to 40 medium-range rockets? If there had been at least a thousand rockets — 5,000 would have been better — we could at least have justified the price of the ticket.
We are fond of threats, but when we become accustomed to astronomical numbers and incipient nuclear bombs, 40 rockets and a few mortar shells are hardly enough for a promo on Channel Two. The Air Force intercepts more when it bombards convoys in Syria, bombardments that Israel generally denies, and the balance of terror does not change afterward anyway. It seems that all that remains is to go back to holding military parades in Tel Aviv.