Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) offered his criticism for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s handling of the ight against terror and claimed that the country is suffering a “mental deadlock.”
“Israeli history teaches us dear lessons on the danger of falling under the spell of ‘Conceptions,'” Bennett told his audience at an Institute for National Securities Studies conference.
The “Conception” is the term for the sense of complacency that arose in Israel after its victory in the Six Day War. Most of the country’s leaders believed that the Arab countries would not dare try another military attack after their unprecedented losses in 1967. This mistaken conception – which formed the country’s defense policy – was one of the prime factors that led to Israel being taken by surprise in the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
According to Bennett, the political deadlock between Israel and the PA is not the central threat to Israel, but rather the mental deadlock. “It’s not the murderers who attack our civilians in Israeli streets and bring their concrete blocks into the heart of Jerusalem – but rather our mental blocks. Instead of shaping our future with our own hands, Israel is dragged into an existing reality. This, in my opinion, is the greatest threat to our security.”
Bennett testified that “From the Cabinet room I have watched the gap grow between the quality of commanders and soldiers and the quality of the strategic conception under which they must act.”
He clarified that he does not accept the strategy adopted by the heads of the security apparatus. “The warm and comforting assumption of the best Israeli army in the world and the best soldiers in the world, as correct as it may be, will not turn our strategy, that of the National Security Cabinet, into the right one.
“Against our enemies’ disruptive innovations – Israel lags behind. We must renew our concepts, not just our weapons. Expensive F-35 fighter jets will not help against 50 commando fighters who dug their way to Nativ Haasara. The newest bulletproof vests will not protect us from the delegitimization attacks that are becoming the building blocks of attacking Israel are able to neutralize a significant percentage of our physical strength. We must create a new, creative, and clear concept of security.”
He then called to come up with a new plan, “instead of purchasing more planes, instead of doing the same thing again and expecting different results – we must come up with a new plan, to test our basic assumptions on every front, and to identify the changes that will take us to a new path.
“We must ask ourselves how it can be that, in all our struggles against Hamas and Hezbollah, we are left bleeding but the head of the hydra has remained immune. We need to ask whether the state’s budget really covers the correct priorities. We must ask these questions boldly, and without prejudice.”
The Jewish Home head emphasized the importance of adopting the Israeli start-ups’ secret to success, as he put it. “The courage to look at ourselves every day from a new angle and to break the down the webs of Conceptions. The courage to imagine and to dare to achieve. We must return to the basics of Zionism: to the source of national resilience that has characterized us since the dawn of history, to the renewal and the daring, to the innovation, the acumen, and the acceptance of doubt.
“Are we really acting properly in Gaza? Wouldn’t it be better to accept the reality and give up responsibility for two million people in Gaza? To open avenues of life for them with adequate security controls?” he asked.
“Is the Locker Commission [which calls for a radical overhaul of the IDF], which was appointed by the country’s leadership and whose best members invested many months of effort, not at least qualified enough for one discussion in the relevant forum?”