Israeli paratroopers in a parachute excerise (photo: Boaz Guttman)
There is an ancient maxim from the Babylonian Talmud that reads: “The Land of Israel is acquired through hardships.” The closing months of 2012 once again attest to the veracity of this statement.
Just as a child cannot choose his or her parents, neither can a nation choose its neighbours. We live in a tough neighbourhood, one in which there is no second chance for those who are unable to defend themselves. A neighbourhood which is characterised by uncertainty, instability and hostility. For the state of Israel, true security must be viewed through a many-sided lens.
About 15 per cent of our citizens have spent the last decade under the direct threat of artillery rockets, mortars and missiles, launched indiscriminately by terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. During the recent escalation with Hamas, half of the country was within range of the terrorists’ missiles launched from Gaza (and 1,500 were fired in eight days in November). Without the ingenuity of the Israeli-designed “Iron Dome” system, which intercepted more than 400 of those missiles, and the continued financial support for additional weapons batteries from the US, the loss, in terms both of human life and property, would have been far greater.
In addition to the threat from Gaza, on our northern border, Hezbollah, a Shia terrorist organisation based in Lebanon, has amassed an arsenal of around 70,000 artillery rockets and missiles. The Sinai peninsula has become anarchical while the brutal civil war in Syria has already trickled over into the Golan Heights.
Further afield, Iran remains the chief sponsor of terror, continuing—openly—to arm and fund the terrorist organisations seeking to destabilise the region. Its influence stretches to our doorstep through its support for Hezbollah, while the regime directly supports President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal campaign in Syria. It aspires to be the regional hegemon and continues to develop its military nuclear programme. All the while, we face an incessant threat of jihadist terror from Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].
As a life-loving nation, facing this relentless terror, our institutions of national defence and security must be built on a wider bedrock of national resilience; that is the true strength of a nation.
National resilience derives from many factors: international legitimacy, a…