I have a lot of respect for Chief of Staff Eisencott. He projects the image of the regular soldier from Tiberias who plans to work quietly, get down to the root of problems and do what he understands needs to be done to prepare the IDF for the next war. I have publicly expressed my respect for him quite a few times. But his blunder last week when he negated the value that we learn from our Sages, “If someone comes to kill you, kill him first” will make all his efforts for naught and ruin all his plans.
The truth is that his words did not surprise me. First of all, because Eisencott amplifies the mentality prevalent in all circles of leadership in the State – particularly in the upper echelons of the security establishment. Second, because he already said something similar to me during war.
When Tel Aviv was being bombarded by rockets from Gaza for over a month two summers ago, I asked then Deputy Chief of Staff Eisencott at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee (in the presence of additional MKs):
“Tell me please, “Who is the enemy?”
Today’s Chief of Staff could not give a clear answer.
How can he possibly kill his enemy first if he cannot identify him?
It is impossible to win a battle without the value of “If someone comes to kill you, kill him first”. The words of the Chief of Staff and the Defense Minister do not reflect ethicality, but its very opposite. This is the same Defense Minister who, under pressure from the media, gave the order to torture minors. Now he is sermonizing about moral conduct toward terrorists who come to murder us. As our Sages say, “He who has mercy on the cruel will ultimately be cruel to the merciful”. It looks like our Sages had it right all along…
The grave significance of Eisencott and Ya’alon’s words is that the IDF, no matter how sophisticated it may be, is not capable of winning wars.
For he who has lost his identity – cannot identify his enemy.
And he who cannot identify his enemy cannot defeat him.
And when we don’t triumph, the war does not end.
And when the war doesn’t end – peace does not begin.
It really doesn’t matter how the young Arab terrorist with the scissors is apprehended. She is going to win because we have deposited the value of justice in her hands.