Israel must formulate a plan of defense for the next round of attacks from hostile neighbors even as it works for a peaceful solution to the unending hostility, according to a former special officer in the Israeli military.
The majority of Israel’s intelligence community says that a future military engagement “is not a question of ‘if,’ but a question of ‘when,’” said Lt. Amit Shuker, a reservist in the Israel Defense Forces.
Shuker spoke with NJJN by phone a few weeks before the Nov. 21 talk he is scheduled to deliver at Congregation Sons of Israel in Manalapan. He will address the geopolitical situation and terrorism in Israel during a men’s club breakfast at the synagogue.
“We were looking for someone to disseminate to the community what is really going on on the ground in Israel,” said programming chair Craig Wolpert of Manalapan. Noting that when Shuker was on active duty he commanded a special unit that entered enemy territory to rescue soldiers, Wolpert said, “We hear a lot of reports in the media, but you can only get so much from the media. Hearing it from someone who lived it will be very meaningful.”
Shuker told NJJN that when he speaks in New Jersey, he will not get into politics, but will break down the very real threats to Israel’s security, including from Iran, a major supporter of terrorism through Hamas and Hizbullah.
“Many people don’t understand what this means,” said Shuker. “Why don’t we attack the nuclear program of Iran? From a military standpoint I will talk about consequences.”
For Israel, Shuker said, those consequences include a probable retaliatory strike; but not attacking, he said, could leave Israel with two “proxy states” on its borders, including Hamas-controlled Gaza.
And while the Iranians don’t have nuclear weapons now, they do have “thousands of long-range missiles they could send to Israel,” said Shuker, “and they will work with Hamas and Hizbullah to attack.”
Shuker has had experience dealing with terrorism tactics employed by a number of Islamic terrorist groups. He said he saw “with my own eyes” a six-year-old carrying explosives in his book bag and IDF members being confronted by 12- and 13-year-olds pointing rifles at them. While there is often a “split second” of hesitation “because it is a kid,” Israeli troops are trained to shoot quickly in such situations.
Americans can flex their political muscles to ensure continued American support for Israel by keeping in contact with their legislative representatives.
“I think it’s very important to back Israel politically,” said Shuker. “With all the delegitimizing of Israel it is very important for the Jewish community to work with politicians. Israel is always being portrayed as the aggressor, and the reason for that is Israel is trying to protect itself from all the terrorists’ actions.”