Israel's Next War Won't Be Avigdor Lieberman's Fault

Every two or three years on average Israel has a war, regardless of who the prime minister and the defense minister are.

Kobi Niv
Kobi Niv
IDF tank fires at Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.
IDF tank fires at Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.Credit: Moti Milrod
Kobi Niv
Kobi Niv

Don’t worry. It’ll be okay. There will be a war. If not this summer, then next spring. And it has nothing to do with Avigdor Lieberman becoming defense minister. It is simply the reality here, at least for the last 10 years. Every two or three years on average we have a war, and it doesn’t matter who the prime minister and the defense minister are, or which parties they come from.

Here are the dry facts: Second Lebanon War, 2006. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Kadima), Defense Minister Amir Peretz (Labor Party), 165 Israelis and around 1,000 Lebanese killed.

Operation Cast Lead, 2008. PM Olmert (Kadima), Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor), 13 Israelis and around 1,300 Palestinians killed.

Operation Pillar of Defense, 2012. PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), Defense minister Barak (Atzmaut). Six Israelis and around 50 Palestinians killed.

Roni Daniel, military affairs correspondent for Channel 2 news.Credit: Channel 2 screenshot

Operation Protective Edge, 2014. PM Netanyahu (Likud), Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud). 72 Israelis and around 2,200 Palestinians killed.

So at least statistically, and because no war has ever improved by one iota the situation that is the ultimate cause of the wars — probably just the opposite — in 2016 or in 2017 there will be another war, without any connection to Lieberman. So just chill.

Nor will the war start because of Lieberman. It will start as usual, like past wars. Someone will kidnap and/or murder soldiers or civilians, and in response the inner cabinet will convene several times to demonstrate that its members are level-headed and serious, and eventually it will decide — regardless of the composition of the inner cabinet — to send in the army; that is, to send us to war. They will announce to the nation, as always, that this time “we’ll eradicate (or eliminate, or exterminate) the terror and remove (once and for all?) the threat.” Everything as usual, exactly by the book.

And the nation of Israel, so divided and conflicted in normal times, will arise and unite in the sanctity of the war and stand (as one?) alongside the soldiers attacking the heart of the darkness in Gaza City’s Jabalya refugee or Bint Jbail in southern Lebanon. After all, “we must not give in to terror,” “Jewish blood cannot be shed with impunity,” and let us not forget the good old favorite: “If someone comes to kill you, kill him first.”

The heads of the opposition, Isaac Herzog and Yair Lapid, or whoever it will be at the time, will report — separately, of course — dressed in their trendiest combat vests, to “improvised” press conferences held outside a kiosk in the northern town of Ma’alot or the southern town of Sderot, depending on circumstances. There, each will declare the need to “rise above (or beyond) our differences, to unite and to rally around and to support and to attack” and all the rest.

And the war will begin and the giant storm over Ya’alon’s ouster and Lieberman’s appointment will blow over as if it never happened.

What will happen, however, possibly because Lieberman and not Ya’alon will be the defense minister, is that the unofficial theme of the next war will be “more:” More determination, more firepower, more killing, more everything. We can’t know the exact numbers, but one thing is clear: In the end a cease-fire will be reached, after being violated a few times, and each side will declare victory. Then everything will go back to how it was for another two or three years, until the next time, and it doesn’t matter who the prime minister or the defense minister will be.

You have more battlefield reports to make, Roni Daniel, don’t go.

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