As nearly 3 months have passed since the October 7th murderous rampage,many questions remain unanswered for Israelis as to what will be…
The worst-case scenario for Israel is a war on multiple fronts: rockets and terrorist attacks from Hamas in the Gaza area to the south of Israel;terrorist attacks all over the West Bank and from the West Bank into Israel’s central area; Hezbollah rockets and infiltration from the north; Yemenite Houthi militias, operated by Iran, attacking ships in the Red Sea; and militias operated by Iran in the Golan Heights area from Syria. Add to that cyber-attacks of sorts, economic and diplomatic attacks, incited forest fires,etc.
This is exactly what Hamas was aiming for. Hamas is on the one hand an ideological radical militia, but it is also a strategic rational organization. Besides waging Jihad in general, Hamas wants to maintain its status as the ruling power in Gaza, and dreams of ruling the West Bank as well (where the majority of the people support it). They are also motivated to be acclaimed in the Arab streets as the forefront of the Palestinian ‘resistance’. They see themselves as the leading player, not as a puppet regime under Iran's leadership.
Ironically, the October 7 attack created a certain tactical advantage for Israel. Iran’s master plan apparently was an orchestrated attack on Israel from all fronts. The attack was planned to take place when Iran reaches nuclear capacity, which would be a deterrent to the US and other superpowers attacking Iran. They planned a great surprise attack, with an initial assault taking down Israel’s communications and warning systems.
This is exactly what happened on October 7th but on a much more minor scale. Hamas stole the show, they jumped the gun. Now Israel cannot be surprised, the people are in the right mindset and are preparing for what it now understands as the reality. The illusion of safety, which caused Israel to be caught unawares, has been removed.
One of Israel's weaknesses was a naive assumption that the border with Hamas was well protected. This led to the denial of clear intelligence gathered by various sources. It is very similar to what happened when Israel was surprised on Yom Kippur holiday in 1973, almost precisely 50 years prior to the October 7th attack on the Simchat Torah holiday, 2023.
Another weakness of Israel is internal strife and division. There is a traditional saying in Hebrew that the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD was caused by “hatred without a cause” (sinnat chinnam – שנאת חינם). Hamas is aware of our strife and attempts to manipulate it. This manipulation of Israel public opinion was developed by Hamas leader, Yahia Sinwar himself, who spent many years in Israeli prisons, is well-learned, fluent in Hebrew, and attentive to the discourse in Israeli society. It is no coincidence that the October 7th attack took place at the peak of internal turmoil in Israel politics, notably the“judicial reform” conflict.
Apparently, Hamas did not expect Israel to retaliate at the degree of strength and determination it has. Hamas is using the hostage situation to pull on the emotions of Israelis and create more strife - and has succeeded in doing so to a degree. But Israelis are still very united and motivated, willing to pay the price of many casualties, for a full-scale ground operation in Gaza.
Despite the loud tones of disagreements in Israeli media and politics,one will discover by talking to reservists in and out of Gaza, that the soldiers are solid, focused, and resilient. This speaks for the backbone and character of Israeli society. While there are feelings of rage against the enemy, the military is operating with high-level professionally, rational decisions and disciplined work.
Iran is not interested in the full attack at this time. They are not ready. For Hezbollah as well, the timing is bad - Lebanon is too fragile and will turn against Hezbollah if Hezbollah brings Israeli warfare upon it. The Houthis out of Yemen are causing troubles but ultimately insignificant to the whole picture. Neither Israel nor its other enemies want a full-scale war, but all are testing the borders. Israel is retaliating, but refraining from major escalation in order to focus on Gaza until it has dismantled Hamas of its military capabilities. West Bank terrorism continues, but has not gone out of control.
Perhaps the despicable protests against Israel around the West will break some illusions as well. They are supposedly pro-Palestinian but are really a form of jihad, manipulating masses of progressives and Neo-Marxists into their horde. We pray for the West to resist these powers before it is too late, because Israel is truly fighting for its very existence.
Israel is set up for short wars, by relying on reservists. However, Israelis vulnerable in long-term warfare because the reservists need to return to their jobs and businesses to keep the economy from collapsing. There is also no tourism now, and importing from the far East is suffering because of the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Ideally, Israel will try now to control the warfare,one front at a time. Presumably when Hamas in Gaza has been neutralized, the IDF will turn to the next front,whether it be Hezbollah or the West Bank. The reservists will remain on-call,while returning home to uphold the economy. The full-time service troops handle the primary front-line fighting.
Israelis are still mourning. Almost everyone has friends and family members who have been killed, kidnapped, or critically injured. Thousands of families have been without the father at home, for almost the entire 3 months. Children are anxiety-ridden because of disruptions, rocket attacks, and running to shelter. Many people have lost their income and livelihood altogether. Over 150,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, particularly on the Lebanese border and in the Gaza envelope. Parents are harboring anxieties for their children and the future of their families.
Please pray for Israel to maintain its spirit of unity and determination. Pray for hope and encouragement. If you are able, from whatever nation you reside in, please support Israel financially, diplomatically, on the streets and on social media platforms.
O Lord many are my foes. O Lord many rise against me.
They say, "Where is your God?" They say, "God will not deliver you."
Now arise O Lord deliver me from my foes,
As You struck down Your enemies in days of long ago.
Now arise, O Lord, deliver me from the dead.
You have become my glory. You're the lifter of my head.
- Psalm 3 (adapted)
This song is a prayer of blessing for our soldiers. The words are:
He who blessed our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
May He bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces.
Standing guard over our land and the cities of our God,
From the border of Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea to the entrance of the Aravah,
On land, in air, and at sea.
May the Lord cause our enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them!
May the Holy One, Blessed be He, protect and deliver our soldiers from every trouble and distress, from every plague and illness,
And may He send blessing and success in all their endeavors.
May He put the fear of us into the hearts of our enemies,
And may He crown them with the crown of salvation and the crown of victory.
And let it be fulfilled in them what is written:
'For the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, and to save you.'
And let us say, Amen.
Photo CC: IDF