Op-ed: In the north, Netanyahu, the statesman and the security man, has enabled Hezbollah to arm itself with game-changing weapons and Iran to gain a foothold in Syria, but he has created a situation giving the IDF freedom to act in the heart of the war-torn country. But in the south, it seems Hamas dictates the terms and while no military option is viable, Bibi has no political alternative.

There is something heartbreaking about a country that stops searching for a security leader. Even when the state is so strong, armed and advanced, Israel does not defeat the security paranoia and never asks itself who will answer the Red Phone (hotline with Washington and Moscow) and who won’t and who will handle the civilian matters, the judicial matters, and the economic matter etc.

Netanyahu managed to appropriate for himself the persona of a security man, even without the military decorations on his shoulders. His service in Sayeret Matkal, the intuitive connection with Operation Entebbe and some of his actions as prime minister cemented his status as a responsible adult who makes most Israelis feel secure when he is by the Red Phone. But to what extent does it relate to reality or the facts? That is a separate question.

Riots in Gaza (Photo: AFP)
Riots in Gaza (Photo: AFP)


A glance at the security reality in the last few months points to chaotic frontiers in the north and south. Let’s begin in the south. In the age of security, of all ages, Hamas has managed to challenge Israeli security doctrine. From rockets that have managed to hold most of the country adjacent to protected areas for close to 50 days in Operation Protective Edge to the terror tunnel network that forced the IDF to launch a ground offensive which claimed lives and did not manage to bring about a decisive outcome between a state with F-35s and a paramilitary terror organization.

The years of quiet on the southern front was not exploited by the security man in a move that would have removed us from this circle. As we have seen in recent months, Israel does not really have a military answer on anything related to Gaza. On the assumption that there is no way of conducting a war in an area in such close proximity to the population, despite the strength of the IDF, it is impossible to exhaust the military option.

This is a game that continues to end in a draw which can only be brought to a decisive conclusion through a diplomatic option. Netanyahu either does not want or cannot lead us to that.

There is scarcely a dull moment on the northern front either. Last week, sirens sent residents to the bomb shelters as if we had returned to the 70s, but that frontier is another story altogether.

In the age of the security man, Iran has managed to get a foothold on our northern border, while Hezbollah has managed to arm itself with weapons that create a real balance in deterrence power on the Lebanese border.

But look at what happens when Netanyahu the statesman speaks with Bibi the security man. On the one hand, the IDF is acting with determination against Iranian arms shipments and bases. On the other hand, Netanyahu is skipping between Putin and Trump, creating understandings, clarifying borders and giving the IDF almost complete freedom in Syria. The meeting between Netanyahu the statesman and the security man, at this time, maintains a stable balance of deterrence which prevents a deterioration despite Israeli activities in the heart of Syria and the sensitive belly of the Iranians.

Fightin in Syria near Israel's northern border (Photo: AFP)
Fightin in Syria near Israel’s northern border (Photo: AFP)


The meshing of diplomatic and military moves creates the feeling that there is a homeowner here who dictates in the majority of moves the terms of the game, who maneuvers between regional leaders, and his enemies do not take the gamble of messing with him.

In the south, however, it is difficult to escape the feeling that the one dictating the moves is Hamas. Under the humanitarian limitations which ties the IDF’s hands, a bold and broad diplomatic move is required that will shatter the paradigm of conflict-quiet-conflict.

The decision of Netanyahu and Lieberman not to go for conflict-operation-war in light of recent events is undoubtedly an impressive display of restraint but it is futile as long as it is not dependent on a political alternative.

The residents of the south deserve to finally feel that there is something substantial behind Netanyahu’s facade as Mr. Security.

As reported by Ynetnews