Remember Ghostbusters, the 1984 fantasy movie? Israel 2023 needs real "concept busters." Not science fiction. A kind of modern Apca version of the fixations and perceptions that we have ceased to challenge; Such that even 50 years after the Yom Kippur War, even a herd of double-thick clues will not move decision-makers from them – concepts that have changed the state of accumulation and turned from "appreciation" to "faith."
In the five decades that have passed since that war, we have had quite a few unnecessary government ministries and governmental bodies (mainly for coalition purposes), some of which have been dismantled, but it is possible that the one that is necessary, vital and valuable, has not yet been established: another assessment body, perhaps a department or a government ministry, whose sole purpose, by definition, will be to create noise in the system; undermine conceptions and fixation (and not only in matters of security); Attack from the most "illogical" and "unreasonable" direction the most "logical" and "reasonable" conceptions. Its employees will be trained to be "treble makers" and alert at the gate, to shake up the system. History teaches us that we often need those, too.
Look, for example, at the 57 years in which the media subjugated itself to the mantra of demographic danger, fearing the loss of the Jewish majority. This concept was born in the faculties of social sciences and geography, and if we had flowed with it, more than half a million Jews would not live in Judea and Samaria today, another 230,<> Jews would not have settled in liberated Jerusalem, and it is doubtful whether the State of Israel would have been established.
Hundreds ascended to the Temple Mount to mark the 9th of Av // Archive photo: Netanel Majesty/TPS
In 1900, historian Simon Dubnov recommended focusing on achieving Jewish autonomy in Europe, since even in a hundred years there would be no more than half a million Jews in the Land of Israel. Prof. Roberto Baci, the founder of the Central Bureau of Statistics, also predicted to Ben-Gurion, on the eve of the establishment of the state, that there would be no "critical Jewish mass" in the country. The flight of the Arab residents during the War of Independence and the large waves of immigration after the establishment of the state drove only a few demographers crazy. In 1987, Prof. Arnon Sofer estimated that by 2000 Israel would no longer be Jewish. But here, a million immigrants from the Soviet Union have changed the map, and a demographic shift is taking place even in Jerusalem: the birth rates and natural growth of Jews in the capital are higher than those of Arabs!
banging your head against the wall
Imagine a situation in which – not the anonymous Lieutenant Siman Tov – but an officer with the rank of major-general, a former chief of staff, perhaps even a "minister of reassessment" would have given the warning of impending war on Yom Kippur 50 years ago. The young officer from the Southern Command tried in vain to open the eyes of his superiors, but they insisted on sticking to the concept that there would be no war. Later, the Agranat Committee commended him, but for all of us it was too late.
Try to imagine the Supreme Court justices who rejected by a majority of 10 to 1 the petition to cancel the disengagement farce (June 2005) – but in a different event. On the table of their honor is an official opinion, reflecting the position of then-IDF Chief of Staff Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon, according to which the plan is dangerous and will bring disaster and terror to Israel and long-range missiles that will threaten Haifa, Tel Aviv and Be'er Sheva. With the exception of one judge, the late Edmond Levy, the justices then followed the timely opinion of the defense establishment. If only then there had been a senior and independent official with authority, influence and status (similar to those held by the Attorney General) – who would have warned in advance of this colossal eclipse – some of the judges might have decided otherwise.
For half a century, the High Court of Justice rejected petitions by Jews seeking to exercise their right to pray in the holiest place for Jews - the Temple Mount. The justices have repeatedly adopted the firm position presented by all the security agencies, according to which such prayer constitutes a real danger to public safety, and will even ignite a religious war, terrorism, terror attacks, and what not? And lo and behold, jaws dropped, and miraculously: for seven consecutive years, Jews have been praying in public on the Temple Mount, morning and afternoon, five days a week and with the approval of the police. No bears and no provocation.
More so. While these prayers are held on the Mount, Saudi Arabia, the main axis state in the Sunni world, is negotiating normalization with us, and Jordan, Al-Aqsa's "custodian," is careful not to burn (at least for now) the bridges of peace it has built with us. The question that must of course be asked is, why hasn't a single voice been heard from within the system that would challenge this cross-establishment concept?
Experts on what was
The Oslo Accords are another good example of the battered English joke, in which the blind man suddenly rejoices that he sees, but bangs his head against the wall (I see, said the blind man and knocked his head into the wall). The State of Israel also banged its head against the wall. It lacked then, just as it lacks today, skilled "concept-busters" who would pour chills on dreams of peace messiahs in the face of terrorist organizations disguised as peace organizations.
In all these events, the media fell asleep or drifted after one side of the political map, in the sense of "I am blind after you going," in minefields and conception.
Another embarrassing paradox is embodied in the longstanding professional assessment of the situation, according to which without a solution to the Palestinian problem there will be no peace with the Arab states. Professionals adhered to this position even after the signing of the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and even after the Abraham Accords signed with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan. Even now, with normalization with Saudi Arabia on the agenda, some are still deeply in love with the erroneous concept.
Sucked into fixation
Only recently, during the Guardian of the Walls period, were we again sucked into the fixation, when the defense establishment identified a trend of rising tension and the potential for an outbreak in the Arab sector, "including friction in mixed areas." However, by virtue of habit, the focus was on Jerusalem, and Israel was caught unprepared for the 2021 riots in cities such as Lod, Acre, Ramle or Jaffa (from the State Comptroller's report).
Even today, at least two basic assumptions prevalent in the security field require careful examination: one holds that "the air force will win the next war for us," and attaches less weight to the ground forces. The other concerns Israel's future conduct vis-à-vis Iran. It is not possible to elaborate here, but one must pray that the conception of this fateful issue is accurate, and that 70 eyes examine it carefully from every possible angle.
50 years after that Yom Kippur, the main conclusion is that one must not allow a particular theory to obscure judgment and lose touch with reality; that proof must be cultivated at the gate, and not driven away and ostracized; that the unity of the ranks must not be sanctified; That silence is sometimes slime, and that it is often desirable to encourage upheaval and noise in the system, because our experts, in Ben-Gurion's sarcastic words, are often "experts on what was and not experts on what will be."
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