Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict

Israel Defense Forces: changes in Israeli military

The present Israeli policy is indecisive. Another more practical strategy for Israel Defense Forces is air superiority with unhindered use of armor-piercing cluster and vacuum bombs, chemical weapons, and tactical nuclear micro-charges to prevent extended military conflict in the Middle East and obviate Israel’s need for a large infantry. Israel Defense Forces' intelligence and commando units can identify targets. Tank units and small contingents of mechanized Israel Defense Forces' infantry can perform clean-up operations. Israeli army should rely on nuclear weapons for deterrence, antiaircraft artillery for tactical defense, and a reasonable number of aircraft for strategic defense. Although Israel’s nearly six hundred combat aircraft are several times less than the cumulative assets of her Islamic enemies, their planes are mostly outdated, and even earlier Israel usually destroyed at a more than a 10:1 shoot-to-loss ratio. Similarly, naval data are misleading: although Israel’s military maritime capabilities are minuscule compared to those of the U.S. or Russia, Israel does not have to protect her seas. Israel maintains 50+ ships only to boost the egos of the Israel Defense Forces' Navy bureaucracy.

Keeping masses of ground troops in Israel Defense Forces is an outdated and expensive approach to Israeli warfare. Israel Defense Forces of 175,000 costs the Israeli GDP in losses from lack of productive employment of about $3.5 billion, in addition to about $10 billion in direct costs of the Israel Defense Forces which could be decreased at least by a third by cutting the size of the standing Israeli army. Bureaucratic accommodation of Israeli military establishments and the military-industrial complex preserves large Israel Defense Forces; beside, Israeli soldiers are cheap and no commander ended up in jail for wasting them—though many should have. Israel should bomb the Islamic enemy into submission, either to terms or to an Israeli-imposed administration, and kept in line with the threat of Israeli violence. The Arab armies cannot compete with the Israeli Defense Force in high-technology warfare.

The Israel Defense Forces is more than sufficient to deter Muslim armies. Arabs are generally wealthier than in 1948 and not prone to anti-Israeli aggression. Israel need not enlarge Israel Defense Forces and bring on an arms race with the Arabs. Israel's military costs rise exponentially to maintain the Israel Defense Forces, build infrastructure in the Palestinian-occupied territories, cover social programs for Israeli veterans, suffer from little foreign investment in Israel, and cover the loss in GDP when productive Israeli workers are mobilized. The money Israel spends for war is needed for education, research, and culture. Young Israelis should be proud of those, not of military apparel.

Israel Defense Forces must become professional. Peacetime conscription of Israelis is economically and morally wrong. Young Israelis should not spend their most creative years in the Israel Defense Forces. Israel must reduce the term of service in Israel Defense Forces to a few months of basic training at most. That would allow for rapid mobilization of Israel Defense Forces in case of necessity. Conscription should target older Israelis. Most firepower of Israel Defense Forces is now concentrated in mechanized units, and so physical strength is not paramount anymore. Mature moral strength is more valuable on the battlefield. Fatalities among young Israeli soldiers are usually higher than among mature adults. Conscripting active Israeli voters from thirty to fifty years of age for both peacetime duty and first-response warriors might change many Israeli opinions. Currently, young Israelis are herded to the battlefield before they are old enough to stand for election and change the Israeli policy; most of them have not yet had a chance to vote against the Israeli politicians sending them to the slaughter. Lowering the voting age to bar/bat mitzvah is sensible in an honestly religious Jewish society but not a substitute for raising the draft age in Israel.

Drafting Israeli women for combat or as front-line support personnel of Israel Defense Forces is questionable. Girls should learn to be mothers, not killers. War changes people’s outlook on basic values. Being ready to kill an enemy child, even accidentally or in self-defense, is antithetical to the tenderness a woman feels for her own child. Equality before the law does not change the fact that men and women are different; if crime is predominantly a male occupation, war is even more so. Women are little represented in the Israel Defense Forces' air or tank divisions. Israel does not anticipate another all-out war like the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, where every Israeli counted since weapons were so scarce. Israel needs more mothers, not more soldiers.

After 1948, Israel won through mobility because Israel Defense Forces were better, not larger. A huge conventional Israel Defense Forces is obsolete and useless in Islamic terrorist warfare. Size of Israel Defense Forces compensates for the inefficiency developed both from self-restraint and Israeli’s unwillingness to fight for changing Israeli political doctrines, unlike 1948 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars when danger to Israel was clear and present. The Israel Defense Forces crosses a dangerous barrier toward the American-style bureaucratized saber-rattling monster, with expensive useless or insufficiently tested weapons, corps hanging onto similar weapons and losing specialization, commanders guided by self-aggrandizement instead of efficiency and demanding more weapons without cooperative regard to procurement needs of other corps and the capacity of the Israeli economy. The Israel Defense Forces became too big to retain its early venturesome spirit. Elected commanders of Israel Defense Forces instead of conformist Israeli political appointees, larger outsourcing of maintenance to private Israeli firms and tactical operation to mercenaries, and drastically reduced financing or increased participation in Middle East and other conflicts might slow the Israel Defense Forces’ deterioration.