The Jerusalem Center recently released a video delineating Israel’s “vital security needs”. Like all such information released by Israeli propaganda organs, it is fundamentally defeatist, indeed almost suicidal, in its premises. From the beginning, it assumes that all territory east of the Green Line will be surrendered to some non-Israeli entity. But let’s not discuss this for a moment. We all know that the Israelis are fundamentally suicidal in their outlook and that their very will to national self-defense is swiftly ebbing. The more important thing about this video is that it makes, without trying, the case for Medinat Yehudah.
Consider this for a moment. If the Israelis want security, a force friendly to Israel must control the Judean Hills and the defensive wall of the Jordan Valley. Once a hostile force sits on the hills overlooking Jerusalem, only a nine mile drive downhill separates it from the Mediterranean. One hour of armored combat, and Israel could be cut in half.
A friendly air force must control the airspace over Judea and Samaria with a guarantee that any hostile aircraft is intercepted within less than two minutes of violating this airspace and therefore never reaches Israel’s major population centers in any form, not even in the form of descending debris. From the hills of Judea, the most primitive man-portable anti-aircraft rocket can shoot down any airliner taking off or landing at Ben Gurion Airport. Therefore, no hostile force with such missiles must be present in the hills of Judea.
From the same mountain country East of Israel, all Israel’s major communications arteries are exposed to direct lay artillery, rocket and mortar fire, making them all but untenable in wartime. With roads and mobilization centers under constant artillery fire, Israeli reserves would be unable to even mobilize, much less deploy. Israeli forces already in the field will be fixed in their positions and cut off from resupply as long as the guns sitting in the hills above them do not run short of ammunition.
Every air base in Israel is likewise within direct lay artillery range of the same hills. Artillery observers sitting in Yosh can crater and scattermine every runway in Israel literally within minutes of a decision to go to war, effectively rendering the Israeli air force useless before its pilots even know there is a war on, much less have time to get to their planes, never mind getting the planes up into the air. And these same observers, watching through their field glasses, can stop in its tracks any effort to repair or clear these runways, effectively removing the IAF from consideration for the duration of the conflict.
To any modern armed force occupying Judea and Samaria, many major population centers in Israel are within range of not only howitzers and multiple rocket launchers, but even heavy mortars! No Israeli civilian would be able to do anything other than cower in a bomb shelter and wait for the shells to stop falling from the moment a war starts to the moment it ends. No factory, hospital or power plant would be able to operate. Food distribution and garbage collection would stop. Electricity would go away. Sewage plants and water pumps would stop working even if they are not simply destroyed in the bombardment. Should the war go on for more than a few days, with sewage systems destroyed, rotting garbage piling up in the hot sun and corpses in the streets, there would be real risk of starvation and epidemic disease.
The video does not mention this, but much of Israel’s water comes from wells in Western Yosh. Any force sitting on top of these wells can simply turn off the taps and, within days, Israelis in Tel Aviv will be literally dying of thirst or drinking raw sewage. The well problem is a major motivator behind Israel’s recent push to construct several giant desalinization plants, lest Israelis die of thirst during an Arab uprising that temporarily cuts off access to the water. But heavy artillery based in Yosh would turn these plants’ fancy reverse osmosis filters into so much plastic-laced rubble within hours.
Moreover, the Israeli armed forces depend heavily on an electronic backbone comprised of a chain of wireless stations linked by fiber optic lines not dissimilar in concept to the backbone of a cell phone network. With jammers advantageously positioned on the high ground in Judea and Samaria, a modern armed force can “drown” this backbone for hours on end even if it cannot, for some strange reason, shoot it full of holes with precision-guided artillery.
The bottom line is that any halfway competent, decently armed modern military force based in Judea and Samaria can simply shut down Israel at will within fifteen minutes, destroy the critical national life-support systems within hours and strangle what is left of the country within weeks, even if it does not simply overrun it within days. The Israelis cannot permit this. They cannot permit even the possibility of it. Not if they want to live.
Yet they are between a rock and a hard place. They do not want and cannot keep Judea and Samaria. They have neither the will to indefinitely occupy land that they feel no connection to, nor the stomach to indefinitely rule over an alien people, nor the large brass beitzim needed to indefinitely receive the combined opprobrium of the entire word and answer it with the one-finger salute. All they want is peace, at any price whatsoever. But, as things stand now, they cannot have any peace at all, except the peace of the grave.
This is the ”real” world as it looks through their eyes. No settler or Jewish nationalist, whether secular or religious, bearded or clean-shaven, articulate or not, can change this perception. When naïve fools, from Ketzaleh to Feiglin, argue that the Israelis should stay in Judea and Samaria on the basis of “security needs” or “common sense” or “heritage” or common humanity, their arguments fall on deaf ears. AND THEY ALWAYS WILL. The Israelis want nothing but escape. At any price. And if they cannot have it, they will simply pretend that they can and surrender to the Moslems, or walk into the sea and drown.
Only an argument that promises the Israelis a viable escape from the death trap they have arranged for themselves can penetrate the fog of their despair. To stop the desperate Israeli search for solutions one cannot do anything other than OFFER THEM A SOLUTION. Medinat Yehudah can be this solution.
The argument is simple, direct, persuasive. Imagine, it says, that a bunch of crazy religious Jews completely independent of the State of Israel control Judea and Samaria. Imagine that they have their own army, their own air force, their own police, their own government. Imagine if they do what they want in their crazy country and fight their own war. Imagine them, and not the IDF, fighting Arab terrorism with no concern whatsoever for international public opinion. You want a force that will fight Hamas without Betselem? You got it! You want a force that can put an end to Arab terror attacks once and for all? You got it! You want an end to the “occupation” that will not result in sworn enemies shooting rockets at Tel Aviv from the hills of Judea, or trying to shoot down airliners on approach to Ben Gurion airport? You got it! You want peace, strategic depth, security, all without cost to you and without sending your sons to die in some “West Bank” hellhole? Step right up! Heck, if you pay rent, you can even have IDF bases in the Jordan Valley without having to patrol Ramallah, Hebron and Jenin!
And what do you, the Israeli, have to provide in return? Simple. Split with us the tanks, the planes, the guns. We will take our fair share, and you can have your fair share, just like we will take our part of the Land, and you can keep yours. Or, if you are too chicken to do even this, just walk away and open the border to us. We will buy what we want, we will bring it home and we will use it to help ourselves. Just stay out of our way.
We are tougher than you. We are crazy. Completely nuts. We believe that Hashem will help us and that He is the only ally we need. You can see it from our huge kippot and our long peyot and our tangled beards and our crazy tunics with long tzitzit shot through with techeilet. We are lunatic biblical fanatics who are nothing like you. There has been nothing like us on this earth since the days of the Hashmonaim. We will fight forever, until the end of time, just like Hamas. We will never give up even a centimeter of the Land. We will build fortresses up in our hills overlooking Tel Aviv, point cannons east instead of west and intercept hostile airplanes before they ever get to you. We will do it all at half the cost and a tenth of the effort you spend, because we are loons who do not give a rat’s behind about anyone’s opinion and we will therefore be able to use methods that you could never get away with. We are willing to endure endless blood, sweat, toil and tears, struggle in poverty, serve in our army for a mandatory six or seven years, eat short rations, have dozens of kids and live in shacks and caves, all just so we can hold on to the Land. The whole world will embargo us, sanction us and attack us, but because we are such lunatics, as long as we have the guns, no UN member would dare send “peacekeepers” to actually enforce any of the UN resolutions against us. The Arabs will fight us forever, like they have always fought you, except ten times more, because they will be scared spitless of us actually marching to the Euphrates if we ever get enough men and guns. And while the Arabs fight us, you will be safe. As long as we don’t go under, no one will even remember that you exist.
The moment this argument is made, CREDIBLY made by lots of people who look and act serious, the moment the Israelis believe that this is for real and that Medinat Yehudah will really work, they will fall on their knees and kiss the dust at the feet of whoever makes it. They will run from Yosh so fast, their feet will blur like a cartoon and the dust will rise to the sky like a tornado. They will hand whoever convinces them a ton of hardware and a pile of cash, all of it with plausible deniability, of course. They will open the border, officially or otherwise, and do everything they possibly can to keep Medinat Yehudah afloat.
Moreover, dear reader, in due course the Israelis will hand Medinat Yehudah far more than simply Yosh. For they do not want and cannot hold the Golan, either. Or the Galil. Or the Negev. Or Yerushalayim. All they want is Gush Dan. And even in Gush Dan, what they really want is the Tel Aviv “bubble”. They are Bubble People, as unsubstantial and unsuited to the real world of the Middle East as the wannabe Silicon Valley-cum-Hollywood-cum-LA-cum-San Francisco soap bubble they occupy. The first dati leumi leader to credibly offer the Israeli bubble dwellers a way to withdraw forever away from our harsh Middle Eastern reality and hide safely in their magic Bubble World will be the first Nasi of Medinat Yehudah.
Sadly, neither Feiglin nor Ketzaleh, nor even Michael Ben-Ari truly comprehends this. Nor are things any better with our rabbis. Even R. Shapira, R. Wolpo and R. Tal are yet to truly see the light. Yet there is hope. For if these tired old men do not step up to the plate, sooner or later a younger leader will. If we cannot be this person, then your job and my job, dear reader, is to find someone who can be. Or at least to keep speaking until, bizrat Hashem, the words fall upon the right set of ears. The leader our people need is, surely, even now walking among us. We just don’t know it, yet.
6 Elul, 5770