It is not true that Israel does not make enough of an effort when it comes to promoting its international image (aka “Hasbara“). In fact, it almost seems as if Israel is making an effort to tarnish its image. This is not solely with respect to the way the West sees us, it also important when it comes to our neighbors’ opinions, as well.
Ever since Israel retreated from Gaza, the number of rocket attacks from the “disengaged” region has increased exponentially. Many of these rockets landed in an IDF basic training base, near Kibbutz Zikim, just north of Gaza. After an attack injured numerous soldiers in 2007, many parents of the new recruits demanded that IDF either fortify the base, to protect them from future attacks, or move the new recruits elsewhere.
In June of this year, the IDF decided to move the trainees to a different base, claiming “the decision is unrelated to the threat of Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip.” (Want to buy a bridge?) When the decision was announced, many feared it would send the wrong message to Israel’s enemies, and would portray Israel as more vulnerable, an image that, in the Middle East, basically begs for more attacks. Labor MK, Danny Yatom, even agreed with Aryeh Eldad (National Union-NRP), saying, “the evacuation of the entire base due to the attacks on it is a severe move and sets a bad example for the citizens of the Gaza-vicinity communities.”
Today, the decision was carried out. The base will not be completely evacuated, and will be manned by a yet-to-be-named division. So it’s not a complete retreat. OK. However, to add insult to injury, pictures of flags being taken down were released to ynet, and published online. Predictably, the Palestinians rejoiced (Hebrew). A statement was released by Abu-Abir, spokesperson for the Popular Resistance Committees (who are still in possession of Gilad Shalit):
The evacuation is yet more proof that the Israeli military is moving from one defeat to another. It began with the withdrawal from Lebanon, continued with the withdrawal from the [Gaza] Strip and the defeat in the [Second] Lebanon War, and of course, also in the daily defeat in the struggle against the Palestinian resistance. Zikim will not be the last place the Israelis evacuate.
Abu-Abir added that in order to win, military superiority is not enough and that determination and faith, two things Israel lacks, but the Palestinians do not.
I am sorry to say I agree with him. He is right on the money. Currently, Israel does lack faith and determination. In recent years Israel has been evacuating, retreating, and losing. However, it is not the military’s fault. The governments and politicians (which include IDF top brass), over the years, have led Israel nowhere good. It’s time that changed. Where is our faith? Where is our determination? At the very least we should not be aiding the enemy by showcasing our weaknesses.