Friday, April 20, 2018

The Ultimate Rationale: Determination and Survival Equal Iron Will

"Israel’s space programme includes the capability to build, operate and launch satellites into space. In 1988, only seven years after the programme was established, Israel launched its first satellite, Ofeq-1.1 At that time, only seven countries had demonstrated an indigenous capability to develop and launch satellites. Given the high costs and risks involved in undertaking such an ambitious national project, it might appear surprising that a small country like Israel – even taking into consideration its acute security needs – would take on such a burden. The Israeli leadership’s strategic rationale for doing so is not obvious, inviting further consideration of the country’s national-security decision-making and goals."
"Israel’s security concept is based on the understanding that it suffers from a significant quantitative inferiority against its rivals. To overcome this disadvantage, Israeli leaders have chosen to focus the country’s efforts on the development of a qualitative edge. One of the most significant elements of this strategy is the development of what has been called the country’s ‘Iron Wall’, a concept intended to convey to Israel’s enemies that the country is a regional power that cannot be defeated militarily.
Several aspects of Israel’s space programme contribute to the realisation of the Iron Wall concept. Firstly, Israel’s space programme provides significant tangible capabilities to deal with the threats imposed by Israel’s enemies. Secondly, and equally important, a national space programme that includes the ability to develop and launch satellites into space signals a high level of national capabilities. Israel’s achievements in space, whether civilian or military, project a clear message of national might. They emphasize the qualitative gap between Israel and its neighbours; contribute to the country’s accumulated achievements aimed at deterrence; and reinforce the image of the Iron Wall in the eyes of Israel’s enemies. All of this is accomplished without articulating an explicit military threat, which could provoke an unwanted chain reaction in the region."
Isaac Ben Israel, and Deganit Paikowsky,  Survival: Global Politics and Strategy August–September 2017 
The AMOS 3 satellite (Photo credit: Spacecom via Tsahi Ben-Ami/FLASH 90)
The AMOS 3 satellite (Photo credit: Spacecom via Tsahi Ben-Ami/FLASH 90)
Image result for israeli space program
If we're speaking deterrence and weaponry, it cannot be overlooked that the State of Israel has a nuclear arsenal, the only country in the Middle East that this can be said of. There is, of course, another country in the geography that aspires to match Israel's supremacy in having mastered the technology and designed nuclear devices. In Israel's case the nuclear arsenal serves as a kind of interior self-assurance that if all else fails ... but it is highly unlikely; in the realm of near impossibility that this weaponry was ever meant to, or ever will be used.

The same cannot be said for the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country whose ayatollahs and its Islamic Republican Guard Corps has been involved in training and arming terrorist groups and using them for the purpose for which they were formed; bellicose threats, violent attacks and conflicts enabling the Republic to widen its sphere of influence, though it is a relative minority sect within greater Islam, and even in the Middle East geography where Sunni Islam predominates. Iran's not-so-secret yet covert activities are geared toward the destruction of Israel, and at the same time the command of the Middle East.

At the present time, Iran represents Israel's greatest existential threat, with its support for Hezbollah its proxy militia group, and Hamas which administers Gaza, both of which are terrorist groups, both of which have the foundational belief that they are capable of administering the fatal blows that will destroy the presence of Israel. It is a fearsome combination of unalloyed hatred that Israel faces; Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Iran arrayed against it as absolute and dedicated hostile enemies who will never be placated by any overtures Israel might take to prove it has no hostile intentions against them.

Since its declaration in 1947 of an independent Jewish state reborn from ancient Judea, Israel has had to face the violent enmity of surrounding Arab populations. From the time of its immediate formation to the final, 1967 war mounted by Syria and Egypt against it, the tiny state was forced to defend itself from the determination of its neighbours to destroy its presence. Each time, from 1947 onward that Israel succeeded in routing the combined armies of its neighbours bent on its destruction it seemed a miracle that an outnumbered, tiny state could succeed in defending itself.

Israel planned from its very inception, on looking reality in the face; that it would need to inspire in its people an 'iron wall' of resistance and determination against greater numbers that would never be satisfied to accept the presence of a Jewish state. That iron wall in reality reflected an iron will to succeed in the re-establishment of Israel in the very place where three thousand years ago Jews lived and thrived and practised their monotheistic religion, only to see it co-opted by an Arab merchant in the 7th Century as the basis of a religion that he visualized would sweep the Bedouin population into conquest of the known world.

From then to the present not much has changed; Islam remains mired in its mission of creep-and-conquest, using the jihad of creeping numbers in invasions of immigrants and refugees into Europe and beyond, and the violence of terrorism when patience in awaiting overwhelming demographics runs thin, and the urge to commit mayhem and mass slaughter overwhelms the consciousness of the dedicated faithful to commit to martyrdom to further the cause of the universal caliphate. Whereas Israel has got on with its mission to present as a haven for Jews, to commit itself to a democratic order of equality and to benefit the world order by its presence and its standards of excellence in innovation, science and technology.

And while the world beats a path to Israel's threshold, eager to share in its inventive spirit and to take advantage of the enterprise of its society -- leading the world in research on a wide number of life-affirming fronts, it also continues to view Jews, and the presence of Israel on that world stage as a questionable anomaly in its differences, much less its ongoing struggle for survival within the landscape of Arab nations continually at war with one another. It takes a collective iron will to shrug off constant criticism and hostility even from purported friendly nations.

And in all indices of survival and contributions to the world at large Israel is succeeding to an amazing degree; all it takes is an iron will.

Israel rocket launchLaunch of an Israeli Shavit rocket via Wikimedia Common

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