Etgar Keret argues that Israel is fighting two wars: one against Hamas and the other against the country’s “enemy within”
In the past week I’ve seen and heard the popular statement “let the I.D.F. win” more and more frequently. It’s been posted on social media, spray-painted on walls, and chanted in demonstrations. Lots of young people are quoting it on Facebook, and they seem to think it’s a phrase that arose in response to the current military operation in Gaza. But I’m old enough to remember how it evolved: first formulated as a bumper sticker, and later turning into a mantra. Of course, this slogan is not addressed to Hamas or to the international community—it’s intended for Israelis, and it contains within it the twisted world view that has been guiding Israel for the past twelve years.
The first erroneous assumption it contains is that there are some people in Israel who are preventing the Army from winning. These supposed saboteurs could be me, my neighbor, or any other person who questions the premise and purpose of this war. All these weirdos, daring to ask questions or raise concerns regarding the conduct of our government, tying our military’s capable hands with nagging op-eds and defeatist calls for humanity and empathy, are allegedly the only thing separating the I.D.F. from a perfect victory.
The second, much more dangerous idea that this slogan contains is that the I.D.F. actually could win. “We’re prepared to receive all these missiles non-stop,” many southern-Israelis keep saying on the news, “as long as we can finish this, once and for all.”