Israel time and again in the many wars and armed conflicts foisted on it by its Arab neighbors, the armed Islamic militias fighting proxy wars on behalf of Arab nations, and Palestinian terrorist organizations, ever since it emerged as a nation-state in the Middle East in 1948, has displayed some admirable 'National Traits' worthy of emulation by other nations. Israel's national traits admired most by this Columnist are ' a significant sensitivity in respect of its 'National Honor', a high order of 'National Cohesion' and a pronounced sense of 'National Will' to use her power potential to defend hostile onslaughts on its national sovereignty and security. Israel as a tiny country in a neighborhood of larger militarily strong and hostile Arab nations has ensured her survival on the strength of these 'National Traits'.
At the present juncture this aspect has come to my focus based on the contrasting responses of India's lack of reprisal strikes against Pakistan's involvement in its 'War of Terror' culminating in the Mumbai 9/11 terrorist massacres, and Israel's punishing responses by military strikes against the Hamas in Gaza for violence and rocket strikes against Israel. Some may like to argue that the two cases are dissimilar as Israel is not pitted against an equally militarily strong adversary. But the fact is that in Israel's military history, this nation did not hesitate in being equally audacious militarily with stronger adversaries and even against the combined might of a number of Arab nations engaged in armed conflict against Israel.
The fact that Israel could do so was that it could draw strength from these admirable 'National Traits' which have nothing to do with size and resources, geographical location or the military strength of its adversaries.
Israel's 'National Will' to use her power potential against her adversaries stood fortified by the 'National Cohesion' that proliferated in Israel and further that Israel's 'National Honor' could not be allowed to be besmirched from any quarter irrespective of the costs involved in personal sacrifices and material losses.
In the TV visuals that emanate from Israel after repeated terrorist strikes has anyone in the world ever seen the wounded wailing in horror or the relatives of those killed in terror strikes wailing in grief ? All that is seen in these visuals is that the people stoically respond to the prevailing reality and that there is a palpable underlying resolve that Israel would respond with punitive strikes against the perpetrators sooner than later.
Has anyone observed Israel's political leaders ever making ambiguous statements as to what Israel's responses would be against those attacking Israeli innocent citizens? Their responses are made in declaratory terms indicating a certainty of reprisals.
Has anyone ever witnessed as it happened in India of endless TV debates involving retired diplomatic and military professionals agonizingly analyzing what options are open and should be resorted to against those inflicting violence on Israel ?
Israel's options stand analyzed far in advance as part of their contingency operational planning and therefore does not require TV debates for formulation of responses to crisis situations.
Israel has over the decades set a pattern for its adversaries that they would be open to reprisals with an overwhelming degree of certainty and which adds to Israel's political and strategic credibility in dealing with acts of violence against her citizens or attempting to besmirch Israel's 'National Honor'.
Contrastingly, India has set no such patterns for Pakistan's complicity in the proxy war against India and the 'War of Terror' as was inflicted on Mumbai on November26, 2008. The result is such that even after 50 days of Mumbai 9/11, India is still engaged in long TV debates as to what should be India's responses to Mumbai 9/11 and the Government is still harping on 'all options are on the table' and there they continue to remain.
As a proud Indian it is painful to witness that India stands paralyzed by the Indian Government's lack of 'National Will' to act against Pakistan when India at large stands united in 'National Cohesion' that India should take strong actions against Pakistan in response to Mumbai 9/11 and that consequently India's 'National Honor' is redeemed.