Ma’ariv published at the weekend a report about a team which is preparing Israel’s new defense doctrine, which will soon be submitted to the prime minister for approval. According to this doctrine, retention of Judea and Samaria and even the Golan Heights no longer has any significant importance for national security.
The words sound very impressive, and when the public reads about a serious team which is defining a national defense doctrine, it probably springs to attention, but on this issue, as in all issues, political outlook has a significant influence on the position which is adopted, whatever the alleged academic or other qualifications of those involved. It is hard to ignore the fact that the team consists entirely of indubitable leftists, headed by former cabinet minister Dan Meridor. Among the others are the outgoing head of the National Security Council, Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland, his deputy Itamar Yaari, former MK Yehuda Ben-Meir, the former Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Maj. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Air Force Brig. Gen. Yohanan Luker, former Foreign Ministry Director General Yoav Biran, former IDF chief of manpower, Maj. Gen. Gidon Shefer and others. In this list at least there is not even a token right winger.
In such a situation it is clear that Israel’s new national defense doctrine will tend towards the position of the traditional Left, which has long since ceased to view Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip as any kind of asset, and views them instead as nothing but a burden.
Anyone who seeks an excellent example of how political outlook influences professional positions has only to read the words of a member of the committee, quoted in Ma’ariv. “It is clear,” he said, “that in the present reality (the threat of Iranian missiles) the territories have no importance for defense, and because of the international community they are likely to become a burden.” But the latest war proved that missiles never win battles. They only help the ground forces who capture the territory. The United States has missiles of every description, much better than the Iranian missiles, but when it wanted to bring down Saddam Hussein it had to send ground forces into Iraq.
Is a conventional war, with enemy armor racing towards our borders, no longer possible? Anyone who responds with a categorical yes runs the risk of looking like a fool, because [our sages say that] since the destruction of the second temple, it is only fools who have been endowed with the gift of prophecy.
One final point. There is no need to get excited about the defense doctrine. Even if those who say Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip have no importance for defense are right, these territories are certainly historically important. They are important for the Zionist movement and for settlement, and they have moral and religious importance. All these are sufficient justification for continuing to hold them and not handing them over to foreign sovereignty. [. ]