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The Sword And The Olive: A Critical History Of The Israeli Defense Force Kindle Edition
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Referring to Germany's victory over France in the War of 1870-71, Nietzsche had warned his countrymen against the fallacy that a military victory constituted proof of superior culture. After 1967 Israelis (and others) cast his advice to the wind, looking for and duly finding "underlying" causes that explained their victory while at the same time "proving" that it could not have happened otherwise and would happen again in case of another war. Thus entire books were produced to show that Israel had "The Power of Quality" on its side. Statistical comparisons were made which showed that Israeli academics out-published all their colleagues in the Arab countries combined. Even if their output only consisted of purely theoretical studies-a charge often raised against Israeli scientists during those very years-such superiority presumably translated itself into achievement on the battlefield.
Nor were the Israelis content to attribute their victory to intellectual qualities only. From his post as professor of international relations at Hebrew University, Jehoshaphat Harkavi, the intelligence chief who had been fired in 1960, explained that the Arab rank and file were "amoral familists." Thousands of years of oppression at the hands of their betters made them unable to understand the meaning of any organization larger than the family; consequently they would not fight for it either. As the chief of military intelligence, Brigadier General Aharon Yariv told a French writer, "a Western person" found it difficult to penetrate the Arab mentality. The latter was characterized by "weakness and his lack of logic, tenacity, and faith. There is no cause that he does not wholeheartedly embrace and that he cannot betray with the same good faith, without ceasing to believe in it. . . most of the reports of officers to their colonels, of colonels to their generals, and of generals to Nasser are full of lies." By contrast, in the IDF "we never cheat on results. We tell the truth, however painful it may be at times...no matter how vanity is damaged."
As Nietzsche also wrote, war makes the victor stupid. In retrospect, the smashing victory of 1967 was probably the worst thing that ever happened to Israel. It turned "a small but brave" (Dayan during his radio address on the morning of 5 June) people which, with considerable justification, believed itself fighting an overwhelmingly powerful coalition of enemies for dear life, into an occupying force; complete with all the corrupting moral influences that this entails. Thus military lessons of the "feat of arms unparalleled in all modern history" began to be studied almost immediately. Not so its moral consequences, which were only clear to a very few-among them, rumor has it, Prime Minister Eshkol, who within days of the capture of East Jerusalem was wondering how one would ever "crawl out again." In any event Israel and the IDF refused to crawl out, and before long they were confronted with new challenges which they found difficult to overcome.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B004OA64IO
- Publisher : PublicAffairs; 1st edition (August 6, 2008)
- Publication date : August 6, 2008
- Language : English
- File size : 4127 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 656 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,095 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Another aspect that is mentioned in the book is the situation of manpower within the IDF. In the first phase of it's history the IDF was a compact, highly trained, and motivated fighting force. But in the seventies and eighties the force became bloated and ineffective. The IDF accepted so many conscripts that all but the elite units were trained effectively.Van Crevled opionizes that the conscription of women has only made the problem worse. Van Creveld tells about how ill educated IDF officers are compared to their foreign counterparts. Unlike most Western nations the IDF has no formal service academy. Instead IDF officers had to prove their leadership ability while as an NCO and then go to officer training school. The attempt to introduce a defense university has only met with failure in Israeli history. In the eighties and nineties a vast majority of educated Israelis opted out of the IDF officer corps. But very ill educated but religious Israelis became a large percentage of the current Israeli officer corps. Van Creveld believes that these new religious officers pose a great threat to Israelis democracy. The only criticisms that I have with the book is that Van Creveld glosses over Israeli operations in the Golan Heights during the 1967 and 1973 wars. Other than these minor criticisms this is by far the best book about the history of the IDF.