Act to destroy it, claim to be resisting it

I don’t remember this from the history of the Yom Kuppur War I read.  Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I thought the war turned via tactical improvements on the ground for Israel and a HUGE decision/desperate gamble to divert air forces from the Golan to the south.  Mark Helprin in Why Israel Needs the Bomb:

In 1973, having overwhelmed the Bar-Lev Line, crossed the Suez Canal, downed a significant portion of the Israeli Air Force, and penetrated deep into the Sinai, an elated Egyptian army found itself with virtually nothing between it and Israel’s heartland. The accepted narrative is that the Egyptians could not conceive of going forward, were frightened, and had insufficient supply. They could conceive fighting in Israel. They had fought there in 1948, and sat on the border for all but six years since. Having beaten back the Israelis, they were anything but frightened, and their lines of supply were adequate. But knowing that had they continued, their concentrations of armor would have been vulnerable to tactical nuclear weapons, that if Israel’s existence hung in the balance so would Cairo’s and Alexandria’s, and that the whole of Egypt could drown in the flood of a breached Aswan Dam, they went no farther.

one of the many purposes of Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons is not merely to wait for a lucky shot at Tel Aviv but to neutralize Israel’s nuclear deterrent so as to allow a series of conventional battles to advance Israel’s downfall incrementally. The military strategy of Israel’s enemies is now to alter the conventional balance while either equipping themselves with nuclear weapons or denying them to Israel, or both. Their calls for equation of the two sides in a nuclear-free Middle East leave out the lack of equation in aims. Israel cannot dream of conquering its adversaries and replacing them with a Jewish state. But from war to war its adversaries have made their intentions clear, and as their mass and wealth are applied to their militaries over time, Israel’s last line of defense in a continual state of siege is the nuclear arsenal devoted solely to preserving its existence.

What I remember most from The Eve of Destruction is the fascinating double- and triple- intrigue involved on the intel side leading up to battle.  How the sides tried to calculate what the other was up to.

Helprin, in the same article:

It exists, they [the “Arab confrontation states”] assert that it has no right to exist, they act to destroy it, and then they claim that they are resisting it. Last week, the Iranian president traveled 1,000 miles from Tehran to stand on Israel’s border and threaten annihilation. One can only imagine the hysteria—not only in Iran but in London and Paris—if Israel’s prime minister were to go to the Iranian border and do the same.

And again:

Conveniently forgotten is that the Jews accepted partition and the Arabs did not; that half the Palestinians who left in 1948 did so of their own volition; that more Jews left and were expelled from Arab countries than Arabs left and were expelled from Palestine; that Arabs were able to remain in Israel whereas the Arab states are effectively Judenrein; that Israel ceded the Sinai for a paper treaty, and Gaza in return for nothing but rockets and bombs; that, amidst a sea of Islamic states, it has accepted a Palestinian state while the Palestinians indignantly refuse to recognize it as a Jewish state; and that it was ready to compromise even on Jerusalem had Yasser Arafat been willing to take yes for an answer.

Talk about timing – Jeff Jacoby covers similar ground in the Boston Globe today as well.  From The undeniable Jewish state:

As Poland is the national state of the Polish people and Japan is the national state of the Japanese people, so Israel is the national state of the Jewish people….

Many of the world’s democracies have official state religions. Think of Britain, whose monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England; or of Greece, whose constitution singles out the Eastern Orthodox Church as the country’s “prevailing religion.’’ The linking of national character with religion is a commonplace. Israel stands out only because its religion is Judaism, not Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism.

Nor is democracy incompatible with ethnic distinctiveness. Ireland waives its usual citizenship requirements for applicants of Irish descent. Bulgaria’s constitution grants the right to “acquire Bulgarian citizenship through a facilitated procedure’’ to any “person of Bulgarian origin.’’ It is not oxymoronic to describe Ireland as “Irish and democratic’’ or Bulgaria as “Bulgarian and democratic.’’ Israel’s flourishing little Jewish democracy is no oxymoron either

Today, half the planet’s Jews live in that state, many of them refugees from anti-Semitic repression and violence elsewhere. In a world with more than 20 Arab states and 55 Muslim countries, the existence of a single small Jewish state should be unobjectionable. “Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people,’’ President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly last month. By now that should be a truism, no more controversial than calling Italy the sovereign homeland of the Italian people.

And yet to Israel’s enemies, Jewish sovereignty is as intolerable today as it was in 1948, when five Arab armies invaded the newborn Jewish state, vowing “a war of extermination and a momentous massacre.’’ Endless rounds of talks and countless invocations of the “peace process’’ have not changed the underlying reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is not about settlements or borders or Jerusalem or the rights of Palestinians.

The root of the hostility is the refusal to recognize the immutable right of the Jewish people to a sovereign state in its historic homeland. Until that changes, no lasting peace is possible.

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