Opinion: Bennett and Netanyahu’s election propaganda oversells Israel’s might and splendor while underestimating its enemies, but this is the exact same kind of ominous hubris that plagued the country immediately before some of its biggest misfortunes
Alex Fishman – www.ynetnews.com
Iran’s grip on Syria is loosening, Israel is the world’s eighth leading military superpower, Hamas pines for a long-term agreement with Israel – which leaves the Jewish State no choice but to cut the terror group some slack so we could finally begin to repurpose some of the bomb shelters near the Gaza Strip border.
This is just a smidgen of the mumbo jumbo that has been spilling out of our leadership’s mouths in recent weeks – and its all election propaganda, of course.
They’re trying to create this false pretense of power and depict Israel as an empire.
This is the same ominous hubris that plagued the country right before the breakout of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 or the First Lebanon War in 1982.
According to what exactly Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has determined that Iran’s grip over Syria is loosening?
I highly doubt Israeli intelligence could provide us with a clear situation report on such a sharp change of strategy on Iran’s side, just a month after the U.S. assassinated Qassem Soleimani, he head of the elite Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Some in Israel seem to underestimate Soleimani’s heir, Esmail Ghaani, just as they underestimated former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat or Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.
Ghaani’s limited political power could lead him to make far more adventurous military decisions.
There is no doubt that the IRGC is currently going through some restructuring.
Another ominous sign for Israel is the appointment of Mohammad Hejazi, the commander of IRGC’s Lebanon regiment and one of the captains of its secret precision-guided missile project with Hezbollah, as Ghaani’s second-in-command.
But within a month, Bennett has managed to change the situation in Syria with his breath alone, just as he’s done in Gaza.
The leniency that Hamas has been granted in recent days is the bastard child of a fantasy that the State of Israel has conceived in its own collective mind, according to which Hamas has its back against the wall, a situation that opens a window of opportunity for Israel to enforce a deal for long-term calm on the terrorist group.
This fantasy is also the reason behind Bennett’s bizarre statement about the ebbing terrorism, which excuses the issuing of thousands of work permits for laborers from Gaza into Israel – under the guise of permits for merchants – without getting anything back in return.
Apparently, two days without balloon-borne explosives flying over our heads means terrorism is subsiding.
We’ve been hearing stories about how this truce is just right around the corner for the past two years now, but Hamas simply refuses to cooperate.
It doesn’t really stop terrorism from the Strip, continues to squeeze Israel’s juice with endless rocket fire and refuses to discuss the return of captives and bodies of soldiers who fell in Gaza.
Hamas is the one putting the pressure on Israel and not the other way around.
Don’t believe me? The day Israel issued thousands of additional work permits and extended Gaza’s fishing zone – Islamic Jihad snipers celebrated the occasion by opening fire at IDF troops.
However, the biggest bluff of all is Netanyahu’s claim that Israel is the world’s eighth most powerful country.
This is the second election campaign in a row he’s been using this same manipulation.
He took his data from an annual survey by US News & World Report based on the answers of more than 21,000 people ranking 80 countries on a range of issues, including power, cultural influence, economy and entrepreneurship, with the categories adding up to an overall “best countries” ranking.
Since it’s highly unlikely all of the thousands of participants have visited or studied the numerous countries in question, this survey essentially examines a country’s image in the eyes of the world.
As far as the image of Israel’s military strength goes – it was ranked second in the world by the participants, after Russia but before China and the U.S.
The prime minister is not using this data to make a fool of himself. When weighing in further variables such as international influence, political stability and other factors – Israel drops to eighth place.
However, when we add up the rest of the variables into the equation, such as quality of life, economy, mobility, cultural influence, and more – Israel plunges to 29th – five spots lower than before Netanyahu took office.
It’s worth noting that leading research institutions around the world actually point out a decline in Israel’s military strength over the last decade.
While this false data serves as election propaganda, it may beget complacency, undervaluing the enemy and poor preparation.