On a recent visit to Cambodia, I was intrigued by the neat circular fishponds in every town, in every village, in every garden. Is this an old Cambodian tradition, I asked, or perhaps there is some religious significance? No, I was told, they are just bomb craters. Cambodia was bombed as “collateral damage” during the 10 years of America’s war against Vietnam. The US dropped some 2.7 million tons on Cambodia alone. Just to put this into perspective, the Allies dropped a little over 2 million tons of bombs during all of World War II, including the A-bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Cambodia is the most heavily bombed country in history.
But, now, we have a chance of taking this title from Cambodia; Israel could become the world champion. We could all have our own fishpond.
“Israeli Home Front Preparing For Thousands Of Rockets” screamed a recent headline in the Jerusalem Post. I would assume that the leaders of Hezbollah also read the Post, at the very least the free on-line version. So, what does this tell them?
Well, firstly, it tells them that the Jerusalem Post is happy to help them terrorize the ordinary Israeli, who is not an expert on military affairs and only sees the terrifying numbers. There are 120,000 rockets aimed at Israel, many of them able to strike anywhere in the country; the army expects a bombardment of over 1,000 rockets in the course of just one day. We don’t need Hezbollah’s propaganda to keep us from sleeping at night, we have the IDF and the Jerusalem Post to do the job for them.
But most importantly, it tells Hezbollah that it’s OK to fire 1,000 rockets a day – the IDF “expects” it. In much the same way, we spend huge sums and much manpower on equipping every citizen with a gas mask; the message we broadcast is loud and clear, it’s OK, we expect to be gassed.
The IDF Home Front Command is spending hundreds of millions of shekels on defensive measures. These seem to consist mainly of air raid sirens telling us we have a few seconds to find a bomb shelter; not so very useful for small children, the aged and infirm, and the large number of citizens without any shelter.
Of course, we have the Iron Dome. A marvel of technology, this will keep us safe. Unfortunately, each Iron Dome Tamir missile costs at least $50,000, and it’s so reliable that usually two are fired at each incoming rocket. This is great for the defense industries, but not so great for the tax payer. When you do the simple calculation; two Tamirs for 1,000 rockets at $50,000 each, let’s see, that’s 100 million Dollars a day. I had to do the calculation on a piece of paper, my pocket calculator couldn’t handle the huge number and just said “Error”.
If Hezbollah really has 120,000 rockets, they could keep firing 1,000 a day for 120 days. That’s every day for four months. I was going to work out how much that would cost for the Iron Dome’s missiles, but my brain said “Error”.
There would also be a cost for Hezbollah. It is estimated that each rocket they fire costs some $500. That’s half a million Dollars a day. Expensive, but with sanction-free Iran footing the bill, it is affordable. This gives a whole new meaning to the concept of asymmetric warfare.
So, what should we do? First, we should close all our shelters; turn them into something useful. Our private shelters could become just another room in our already crowded apartments. Large public shelters could be used to shelter the many homeless that are living on the streets. Then, we should inform Hezbollah, and Hamas while we are at it, that if just one rocket crosses our border, we will completely wipe out the entire area from which it was launched. Asymmetric? Certainly. Disproportionate? You’d better believe it.
The same principle would apply to gas masks; get rid of them. Dismantle the expensive and time-wasting distribution and maintenance network. Simply tell Hezbollah, and Hamas, that the slightest bad smell coming from them will bring about their immediate and complete destruction. In any case, most types of nerve gas are fatal on contact with the skin, so our gas masks are not much use.
We must make it very clear that we do not expect a daily rain of rockets; we do not accept the use of deadly gasses. We expect peace and quiet in our small country. If our neighbors want to bomb and gas each other, that’s their own business, we won’t interfere. But they must be made to understand that we don’t play by the rules; if they try it on us, they will very soon cease to exist.