Israel’s Resilience: Milestones, Challenges, and Unity Amidst Adversity

July 19, 2023
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon | GPO

This amazing week we celebrate both the 75th anniversary of Israel and the 56th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.

Israel’s external and internal challenges remain the same, with some coming more sharply into focus during the very recent round of over 1,400 rockets being launched against Israel’s civilian population.

The tactics of Iran and her proxies have changed somewhat with an understanding that at 75, Israel is militarily stronger than she has ever been.

Recognising this, Israel’s enemies direct their campaign of terror against Israel’s civilians, in an attempt to destroy their resilience and spirit.

Iran’s near-term tactics had appeared to be, continuing attacks by their proxies, but at a relatively low enough level to not spark an all-out response from Israel. PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad) being more under their influence than Hamas.

In early May, PIJ member Khader Adnan, died in an Israeli prison after being on a long-term hunger strike, after which PIJ initially launched over 100 rockets at Israel.

Patiently waiting a week for PIJ to miscalculate Israel’s response, Netanyahu launched Operation Shield and Arrow, directly targeting PIJ leaders.

Actions by Israel showed that Prime Minister Netanyahu is increasingly reasserting his leadership over the government, whilst dealing with two major internal challenges.

The ongoing anti judicial reform demonstrations continue and with expanding agendas.

Despite the unprecedented nature of the size and frequency of the protests, they are not Netanyahu’s current biggest political headache. Particularly, as long as the talks under the auspices of President Herzog continue and Netanyahu manages to delay judicial reform legislation.

Netanyahu’s biggest internal challenge is keeping his coalition together and getting the budget passed by May 29th.

One issue is the commitment to the Haredim to pass a law that ensures they can continue to be exempted from the IDF draft. This they threaten, is a coalition deal breaker. Maybe.

Smotrich, who is the finance minister, is focussed on getting the budget through and has been remarkably low key on other issues for the past few weeks.

More serious for Netanyahu is the position of Ben Gvir and his party, who in April criticised his own government’s decision to bar Jews from the Temple Mount for the last 10 days of Ramadan, but said this was not yet a trigger for him to leave the government.

With the emphasis on ‘yet’.

This time Ben Gvir and his party were openly making threats to leave the government, going so far as to boycotting cabinet meetings and threatening to not turn up to vote in the Knesset over budget issues.

Today the Jewish People have proven that we are one. When a family in Efrat hurts, we all hurt. There is no clearer proof of our unity.

Previously, Ben Gvir had been upset at being excluded from security cabinet meetings and was very unhappy with the government’s response to the rockets from Gaza, calling for a stronger response and the targeting of Gazan terror leaders directly.

Despite this being in line with Ben Gvir’s policy demands and whilst it allowed him to climb down from his threat to boycott the government – for now – it is clear that Netanyahu did not include him in the deliberations, as he wanted to control the parameters of Sheild and Arrow without Ben Gvir’s input and agitation.

Netanyahu was also concerned with keeping the operation a surprise, so as not to drive the PIJ leaders back into hiding.

Netanyahu bypassed the security cabinet and took the operational decision with Defence Minister Galant and the IDF Chief of Staff Halevy—and with the approval of the attorney general it should be noted.

This seems to be a return of the patient, calm and considered Netanyahu who waited a week after the IDF was actually battle ready, to pick the right moment. 

The operation has also been strongly backed by Lapid and Gantz whose parties were also at pains to minimise Ben Gvir’s role.

Notable aspects of the Israeli government’s policy this time were:

the targeted assassinations of PIJ leaders

the non mobilisation of large-scale combat ground forces

and whereas in the past Israel had held Hamas responsible for all rockets coming out of Gaza, this time they specifically blamed PIJ and sent messages to Hamas to stay out of the current round

Iran and her proxies miscalculated and failed to understand the strength of Israel’s democracy and the population’s resilience.

Despite the weeks of protest, despite the rhetoric and the high emotions, as soon as Israel was under attack, the country united, the reservists turned up for their duties and there was wall to wall support in Israel’s defence.

This goes a long way to understanding why the people have confidence in the IDF and Intelligence services to protect them and Iron Dome’s amazing abilities only go to strengthen that feeling.

As if to emphasise the resolve of the ordinary everyday Israeli, in the midst of the 5 day war, on the Thursday night, Aviv Gefen’s outdoor concert in Tel Aviv went ahead with 40,000 people attending. 

Concert goers received SMS’s with instructions of what to do in the event PIJ launched rockets at the show, but thank G-d, all was well.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and all of Israel sent a strong message to Iran and her proxies, that Israel’s democracy is robust and that hundreds of thousands can protest against the government, but that Israel’s enemies should not misunderstand this for weakness.

As Rabbi Leo Dee said at the funeral of two of his daughters, murdered by terrorists:

“Let the Israeli flag today send out a message to humanity.

Today the Jewish People have proven that we are one. When a family in Efrat hurts, we all hurt. There is no clearer proof of our unity.

Left wing next to right wing, religious next to secular, uniting against the real threat.

We will all march as one. 

Am Yisrael Chai.”



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