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Historical Israel-Arab wars Discuss the strategies and the situation of the historical Israeli-Arab wars from 1948-1982 and it's implications on Israel.

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Old 10-07-2013, 09:51 PM
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Exclamation Could Israel’s most devastating conflict happen again?

Lessons from the Yom Kippur War
Could Israel’s most devastating conflict happen again?

Forty years ago, Israel experienced the most devastating war in its modern history. Israel not only suffered its worst casualties during the Yom Kippur War, but actually came close to being destroyed with Defense Minister Moshe Dayan warning that “The Third Temple is falling.”

To understand the lessons of the Yom Kippur War, it is important to understand the three key elements that led to it. These are Muslim deceptiveness, American diplomatic pressure and Israeli complacency.

Egypt had lulled Israel into complacency by faking a crisis. Before the Yom Kippur War everyone “knew” that Egypt’s air force was defunct and that its military was no threat because of an arms dispute with the Soviet Union.

While there was a dispute, one of many, with the Arab powers demanding more and better weapons, the claims of weakness were a façade. During the Six-Day War, Israel had faced overwhelming odds. Now it seemed to be facing a weakened Egypt under a “moderate” leader whose ties with his Soviet allies appeared to be fraying.

Israel was warned to avoid any provocative responses to Egyptian military preparations or it would be considered the aggressor. A preemptive strike, the move that had won the Six Day War, was out of the question. Instead Israel could only react to overt aggression while letting an enemy force that was larger than it make its preparations for war and dictate the terms of battle.

Israel had beaten Egypt before. That meant that even though Egypt had twice as many soldiers and the combined Arab attack forces had nearly twice as many tanks, Israel was considered the stronger party. And just like today, it was expected to show restraint against a “weak” Muslim enemy.

That put Israel into a box that it has never managed to get out of. Since then, the Muslim side has learned to appear weaker to maintain freedom of action. Using terrorists as proxy armies under the cover of a phony Palestinian nationalism inflicted severe damage on Israel using a “weaker” enemy.

Before the Yom Kippur War, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had made it obvious that he wanted Israel to take a beating to score points with Muslim leaders.

In his book, King’s Counsel, Jack O’Connell, a close advisor to King Hussein of Jordan, describes Kissinger meeting with Egypt’s National Security Advisor and telling him that, “If you want us to intervene with Israel, you’ll have to create a crisis. We only deal in crisis management. You’ll have to ‘spill some blood.’”

Kissinger then tried to keep President Nixon out of the loop, delaying notifying him that the war had started and trying to keep him from returning to Washington. Nixon had told Kissinger from the start that he had to “squeeze the old woman” (Golda Meir) because “we can’t have a hundred million Arabs hating us.” But Kissinger was going far beyond anything Nixon wanted.

The arms shipment that helped stabilize the Israeli counterattack was delayed by Kissinger, but finally pushed through by Alexander Haig while Kissinger was still trying to calculate a “sweet spot” that would prevent Israel from either being destroyed or winning a major victory.

The goal was to beef up the self-esteem of Muslim countries which had lost wars to Israel while using the Jewish State as leverage to force them into a relationship with the United States.

On his fourth day in office, Kissinger told President Ford, “We couldn’t have done better if we had set the scenario.” “Even the heavy Israeli losses helped, didn’t they?” Ford replied.

Those same calculations are still going on today.

If diplomacy is the art of saying “Nice doggy” until you find a rock, then Israel is the rock. The diplomats get it backward believing that the only reason the nice doggy is growling at them is because they have a rock in their hands. They want the doggy to behave nicely and watch the front yard. They don’t care about the interests of the rock.

Israel’s efforts to fight terrorism are deliberately undermined for diplomacy in the Muslim world. The Kissingerian thinking is that the more Israel is weakened, the more willing it will be to make concessions and the more concessions Israel makes, the more the Muslim world will accept American influence.

But the process has worked in reverse, with the weakening of Israel also weakening American influence.

The third factor is Israeli complacency. The Israeli Labor leaders had forgotten that the Six Day War had been a desperate gambit in a crisis and that it had succeeded because of the quality of the men in the field, not the leadership. Golda Meir was a long way from the humble Levi Eshkol and Moshe Dayan, like Rabin and Sharon and too many other Israeli generals, had come to believe his own press.

Israel had overcommitted itself to passive defenses, to the Bar Lev Line; the Iron Dome of the day. The Bar Lev Line was the embodiment of the opposite of the tactics that had won the Six Day War. It was not an action, but a reaction, a series of defensive fortifications arising in response to Egyptian shelling that grew until the reaction became the heart of Israel’s military strategy.

While Egypt plotted an invasion, Moshe Dayan extended tentative withdrawal offers and reports from the Bar Lev Line of Egyptian troop movements were dismissed as a misunderstood training exercise.

Israel’s leaders did not know what they wanted and Israeli soldiers paid the price.

Like any Israeli reactive strategy, the Bar Lev Line was doomed. Ariel Sharon had argued for a mobile approach and Haim Bar-Lev had tried to force Sharon out of the IDF. Prime Minister Sharon however would embrace his own Bar Lev Line with the Separation Wall that like the Bar Lev Line provided a temporary illusion of security without the substance.

Israel today has achieved the illusion of security without the substance. The raid that captured Gilad Shalit and the shelling of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were warnings that the illusion of security can come apart at any minute when the enemy applies enough energy to finding a workaround; the way that the Egyptians did with the Bar Lev Line.

Despite their courage and innovativeness, Israelis easily become complacent assuming that whatever their government is doing must be working. That is something they share with Americans and Europeans who are shocked by each new terrorist attack.

Complacency in war is the path to defeat and the war has never ended.

The Israeli political and military establishment is too busy with its internal arguments to pay enough attention to what is going on outside its walls. There is no shortage of military and intelligence brass eager to provide the same empty assurances about the improbability of an Iranian attack that their predecessors provided about the improbability of an Egyptian attack in 1973.

Netanyahu is aware of the stakes, but is hamstrung by an American government still obsessed with appeasing Muslims to stabilize the Middle East and by an Israeli military and intelligence establishment that resembles the incestuous Old Boy Network in 1973, but is more heavily politicized because its members are even more eager to run for public office.

The ultimate lesson of the Yom Kippur War comes from Zvika Greengold who held out against the 51st Tank Brigade of the Syrian Army in only one tank.

“One thing that stayed with me after this war was the feeling of being alone,” he said later, “not in a room, but in a war, with one tank.”

That is Israel; fighting alone against impossible odds. It forgets that at its own peril. (Emphasis added by Paparock)

Last edited by Paparock; 10-07-2013 at 09:54 PM..
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:45 PM
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Arrow The Truth on Israel Palestine Conflict

The Truth on Israel Palestine Conflict

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Old 12-03-2014, 10:52 PM
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Exclamation A Guide To The Arab - Israeli Conflict

Myths and Facts:
A Guide To The Arab - Israeli Conflict

By Mitchell G. Bard

336 Pages

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Old 04-26-2015, 04:13 PM
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Exclamation Could Jewish Soldiers Celebrate Passover in Jerusalem in 1918?

Could Jewish Soldiers Celebrate Passover in Jerusalem in 1918?
Read Col. Paterson's words to see that there is nothing new under the sun.
By Lenny Ben-David

Jewish Brigade on Pesach

In WWI, individual Jewish soldiers served in the ranks of the armies of Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand and were involved in the 1917 battles in locations such as Be'er Sheva and Rishon LeZion. Another large group of Jews served in the British army's Jewish Legion, commanded by Col. John Henry Patterson and involved in combat after arriving in Palestine in 1918. According to Patterson's memoirs, 2,000 soldiers were under his command.

Patterson bitterly complained that his soldiers were forbidden from celebrating Passover in Jerusalem in 1918 and 1919, yet the pictures below show Jewish soldiers in Jerusalem on the holiday. How can the contradiction be explained?

Jewish soldiers from various British units celebrating Passover in Jerusalem, 1918. The various headgear suggests the
soldiers were from many army units, including ANZAC and Scottish, and not necessarily from the Jewish Legion. (Harvard Library/Central Zionist Archives)

In Patterson's own words, the new sovereign of Palestine -- the British army -- continued the Ottomans' anti-Semitic practices against the Jews. Patterson's fury could barely be contained when his Jewish soldiers suffered from vicious anti-Semitism within the army and from British commanders.

Col. John Henry Patterson

Palestine has become the theatre of an undisguised anti-Semitic policy. Elementary equality of rights is denied the Jewish inhabitants; the Holy City, where the Jews are by far the largest community, has been handed over to a militantly anti-Semitic municipality; violence against Jews is tolerated, and whole districts are closed to them by threats of such violence under the very eyes of the authorities; high officials, guilty of acts which any Court would qualify as instigation to anti-Jewish pogroms, not only go unpunished, but retain their official positions. The Hebrew language is officially disregarded and humiliated; anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is the fashionable attitude among officials who take their cue from superior authority; and honest attempts to come to an agreement with Arabs are being frustrated by such means as penalising those Arab notables who betray pro-Jewish feeling.

The Jewish soldier is treated as an outcast. The hard and honest work of our battalions is recompensed by scorn and slander, which, starting from centres of high authority, have now reached the rank and file, and envenomed the relations between Jewish and English soldiers. When there is a danger of anti-Jewish excesses, Jewish soldiers are removed from the threatened areas and employed on fatigues, and not even granted the right to defend their own flesh and blood.

Discrimination against Jews was, however, still shown in other quarters. Early in April 1918 the men were considerably upset on the receipt of orders from G.H.Q. that no Jewish soldier would be allowed to enter Jerusalem during the Passover; the order ran thus: "The walled city (of Jerusalem) is placed out of bounds to all Jewish soldiers from the 14th to the 22nd April, inclusive."

The caption reads: "Jewish Legion soldier (sic) during Passover in Jerusalem." Clearly, this is not Jerusalem. The library description of the photo also includes "Judean Hills region," a more likely setting. (Harvard Library/Central Zionist Archives)

I cannot conceive a greater act of provocation to Jewish soldiers than this, or a greater insult. The days during which they were prohibited from entering Jerusalem were the days of the Passover. Think of it! Jewish soldiers for the first time in their lives in Palestine and barred from the Temple Wall of Jerusalem during Passover! Only a Jew can really understand what it meant to these men, and the great strain it put on their discipline and loyalty.
How provocative and insulting this order was will be better understood when it is realized that the majority of the population of Jerusalem is Jewish, and, therefore, there could have been no possible reason for excluding Jewish troops belonging to a British unit, while other British troops were freely admitted, more especially as the conduct of the Jewish soldiers was, at all times, exemplary.

Jewish soldiers at Passover Seder, Jerusalem, 1919 The photo is signed by Ya'akov Ben-Dov who moved to Palestine in 1907 from Kiev. He was drafted into the Ottoman army during World War I and served as a photographer in Jerusalem. Ben-Dov filmed Allenby's entry into Jerusalem in 1917 (Harvard Library/Central Zionist Archives)

Not since the days of the Emperor Hadrian had such a humiliating decree been issued. However, to make up somewhat for the action of the authorities, I made arrangements for the Passover to be observed at Rafa with all the joy and ceremony usually attending that great Feast of the Jewish People. At considerable cost we provided unleavened bread, as well as meat and wine—all strictly "Kosher." As we were nearly 2,000 strong at this time, the catering for the feast had to be most carefully gone into, and Lieut. Jabotinsky, Lieut. Lazarus, and the Rev. L. A. Falk did yeoman service in providing for all needs. It was a wonderful sight when we all sat down together and sang the Hagadah on the edge of the Sinai desert.

Passover was selected to insult their deepest religious feelings, by barring them access to the Wailing Wall during that week. No Jewish detachment is allowed to be stationed in Jerusalem or any of the other Holy Cities of Jewry.

Jewish soldiers -- their headgear and uniforms suggests they are from from various units -- celebrating Passover at the British Jewish Soldiers Home in Jerusalem, 1919 (Harvard Library/Central Zionist Archives)

Another letter:

The Feast of the Passover was celebrated during our stay at Helmieh. Thus history was repeating itself in the Land of Bondage in a Jewish Military Camp, after a lapse of over 3,000 years from the date of the original feast.

I had considerable trouble with the authorities in the matter of providing unleavened bread. However, we surmounted all difficulties, and had an exceedingly jovial first night, helped thereto by the excellent Palestinian wine which we received from Mr. Gluskin, the head of the celebrated wine press of Richon-le-Zion, near Jaffa. The unleavened bread for the battalion, during the eight days of the Feast, cost somewhat more than the ordinary ration would have done, so I requested that the excess should be paid for out of Army Funds. This was refused by the local command in Egypt, so I went to the H.Q. Office, where I saw a Jewish Staff Officer, and told him I had come to get this matter adjusted.

He said that, as a matter of fact, he had decided against us himself. I told him that I considered his judgment unfair, because the battalion was a Jewish Battalion, and the Army Council had already promised Kosher food whenever it was possible to obtain it, and it would have been a deadly insult to have forced ordinary bread upon the men during Passover. I therefore said that I would appeal against his decision to a higher authority. He replied, "This will do you no good, for you will get the same reply from G.H.Q." He was mistaken, for I found the Gentile, on this particular occasion, more sympathetic than the Jew, and the extra amount was paid by order of the Q.M.G., Sir Walter Campbell.

It is apparent that while Jewish soldiers from other units in the British army were permitted to attend seder in Jerusalem, the formal Jewish Legion was not, perhaps because of the army's desire to restrict a distinctly Jewish, nationalistic corps in its midst. 

The Jewish Brigade!

Last edited by Paparock; 04-26-2015 at 04:27 PM..
Old 11-20-2016, 10:13 PM
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