Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Does Israel prepare for war?

On October 30, 2017, Israel's news outlets reported that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had destroyed a cross-border 'tunnel network' that had originated inside Gaza and had reached into Israel. The explosions initiated by the IDF killed more than a dozen 'Palestinians', including at least five "top members" of both Islamic Jihad and Hamas ("Rights groups demand IDF follow rescue teams into Gaza tunnel", +972magazine, November 3, 2017). Since then, the virulently anti-Israel Islamic Jihad has threatened retaliation against Israel for this explosion. 

The entire security apparatus in Israel seems to be taking these threats seriously. Shoppers in Jerusalem have seen a clear and obvious increase in uniformed security patrols. Arrests of militant Arabs around the country have increased. Military air traffic overhead has increased.  

These kinds of security measures are not surprising--or new. We've seen them several times since we made aliyah 7 years ago. 

What is surprising, however, are the headlines below. They cover just one 48-hour period, November 13-14, 2017. Take a look:

--“Iron Dome batteries deployed in the center of the country”, November 13, 2017;

--“We will act in Syria according to our security needs”, November 13, 2017;

--"Officer who eliminated terrorist to command Binyamin brigade" [in Samaria region], November 13, 2017;

--“US-Russia ceasefire could leave Iran forces 3 miles from Israel”, November 13, 2017;

--"Tomorrow night: Military exercise in Rosh Hanikra area" [close to Labanon ], November 13, 2017;

--“IDF arrests Islamic Jihad leader in Judea and Samaria”, November 13, 2017;

--“Hamas official: The Oslo [Peace] Accords are dead”, November 13, 2017;

--“IDF closes three tourist sites near Gaza border”, arutzsheva, November 14, 2017;

--“Security Cabinet orders broad deployment of Iron Dome” arutzsheva, November 14, 2017;

--“Military exercise with sirens in the Lower Galilee”, arutzsheva, November 14, 2017;

--“Report: Islamic Jihad terrorists on highest alert”, November 14, 2017;

--“7 arrested in southern Hevron Hills for security offenses”, November 14, 2017;

--“Israel will continue to care for security interests”, November 14, 2017;

--“Iron Dome defense system deployed in Dan region”, November 14, 2017;

-“Iron Dome battery placed near Tel Aviv”, November 14, 2017.
(These headlines come exclusively from arutzsheva)

Then, from other news sites, there's this:

-Stephen Weizman, "Israel issues Syria warning after concern over Iran-backed forces", afp, November 13, 2017; 

-Judah Ari Gross, "IDF deploys Iron Dome, raises alert amid Gaza terror threat", timesofisrael, November 13, 2017;

-Judah Ari Gross, "IDF shuffles brass, promoting new intel chief and censured commander", timesofisrael, November 13,  2017; 

-"Netanyahu  says he told Putin Israel not bound by Syria  ceasefire", timesofisrael, November 14, 2017;

These headlines appeared during a 48-hour period that ended yesterday. They were mixed in with dozens of other news items, so few if any of them seemed urgent. Any impact they might have on a reader would necessarily be diluted by the headlines surrounding them. 

A casual internet news reader might visit a news site three or four times a day. Throughout the day, he would have missed many of these headlines that popped up--and were then pushed aside by other news. Would such a reader notice how many of these stories actually appeared on November 13-14, 2017?

It's when you gather these headlines together in one place  that you realize they aren't casual or neutral. Instead, they  tell a story: over the last 48 hours, something may have changed in Israel. 

Is the IDF organizing and deploying for war? 

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