November 19, 2007
As readers no doubt know, the performance of the Israeli military forces in the 2006 war with Hezbollah was disappointing. While the Israeli Air Force wrecked many targets in Southern Lebanon, Hezbollah was widely perceived in the world press to have either won the conflict or to have fought the Israelis to a draw. Israel did much tactical damage via air attacks, but accomplished no strategic goals. Additionally, Hezbollah is now reported to have replenished its supply of missiles, due to shipments of weaponry from Iran and Syria.
Israel was hampered in the 2006 Hezbollah war by having a Defense Minister chosen for his political value to Prime Minister Olmert’s Kadima party coalition rather than for his military qualifications. This problem has been remedied. The new Israeli Defense Minister is Ehud Barak, whose military qualifications are well-known. Two reports (see links below) indicate to me that Defense Minister Barak’s influence is reshaping the Israeli military’s plans to more realistically address future threats likely to be faced by the Israeli nation.
The first report, from Reuters, indicates that the Israelis are preparing new options to prepare for a nuclear-armed Iran. Reuters reports that “Two senior Israeli sources…said a secret memorandum was being prepared about ‘the day after’ Iran has its own atomic weapons.” Iran’s nuclear program is, quite correctly, called an “existential threat” to Israel, given Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s threats to “wipe Israel off the map.” Israel is in a difficult position as it realizes something needs to be done about Iran, but no one yet knows whether the USA (and perhaps other European allies) are going to take preventative military action against Iran. The Reuters story also opines that Israel may become more open about its own nuclear abilities in an effort to deter Iran if Iran does develop nuclear weapons. The Israelis are reputed to already have 200-300 nuclear weapons of their own so their nuclear arsenal would be far larger than Iran’s However, the nation of Israel has no strategic depth to absorb a nuclear attack and still survive. Given Ahmadinejad’s fiery rhetoric and his reported Islamic “Messianist” beliefs about needing a great war to usher in the coming of a “twelfth Imam,” there is no guarantee that overwhelming deterrence would actually deter Ahmadinejad. One needs a certain degree of rationality on the part of one’s enemy for deterrence to work, and no one knows if Iran’s leaders are rational.
The second link contains a specific examination of how the Israelis are reorganizing and restructuring their military forces to meet future military threats. The report indicates that the Israelis had come to perceive low-level threats from the Palestinians to be their main threat, but the 2006 Hezbollah war has now led to major changes in Israeli war preparations. The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) indicates the “previous efforts to draw down the size of the Israeli military will effectively be reversed, with the first priority given to building the Ground Forces…” The report states the Israelis will not only be significantly increasing the numbers of tanks and armored personnel carriers in their army, but they will be improving their survivability by adding “active protection systems” to counter the kinds of anti-tank weapons used with great effect by Hezbollah in the 2006 war. The Israeli Air Force will add a new fleet of transport aircraft and pay for it by purchasing fewer of the USA’s new F-35 fighter planes. The Israeli Navy, which already has 3 German-made submarines “considered to be the most advanced non-nuclear submarines in the world,” plans to add two more such submarines. The Reuters link notes that these Israeli subs are “believed to carry nuclear missiles,” and I would agree with that assessment. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is also making mass purchases of bombs, missiles and various munitions to replenish war stocks which had “reportedly reached dangerously low levels even before the 2006 battles with Hezbollah.” [Emphasis added.] It would appear that Israeli military planners prior to the Hezbollah war had assumed major conflicts were not likely to occur in the future and military preparations had been neglected. Now it appears that IDF plans are based on an assumption that major future warfare is likely to happen.
Based on the perspective of biblical prophecies, Israeli war planners are correct to make preparations for future major wars involving the Israelis. Indeed, the Bible says a very large war at the end of this age is a certainty. Zechariah 14 is a prophecy about a climactic war that will occur in the “day of the Lord” at the end of this age just prior to Divine intervention. Verse 2 prophesies the city of Jerusalem will be “taken” by invaders in this warfare. I’ve heard some religious observers speculate that this language indicates the Israeli nation will be conquered in this age’s last war, but that is not what the prophecy says. It says the city of Jerusalem will be “taken” in battle but the prophecy does not predict the fall of the Israeli nation. Indeed, verse 14 states “Judah [the Israelis/Jews] will fight at Jerusalem” in the war when the Messiah returns so Judah is still fighting in this war when the Messiah makes his appearance. As a Christian, I obviously believe the Messiah will be Jesus Christ and that he warned about this climactic warfare in Matthew 24:14-22 and Luke 21:20-24 which warn a time of terrible danger will occur when Jerusalem is “compassed with armies” at the end of this age.
Zechariah 12 is also a prophecy about this climactic war which will occur in the region of Jerusalem and Judah (the Israeli nation). This prophecy indicates that the Lord will save Judah in this final war (verse 7) and “destroy all the nations that came against Jerusalem” (verse 9). The book of Revelation agrees. Revelation 16:12 prophesies that a great army will come from the east heading westward across the Euphrates River. This is the army which wages the war against the Israelis in Zechariah 14. Revelation 16:14-16 indicate this eastern army will come to the final battle of “Armageddon” (“Har-Megiddo”) in the Valley of Jezreel in Israel. The above-cited prophecies reveal details about a final World War III as it unfolds in the Mideast theater of action.
However, the warfare in the Israeli region will be just one of many theaters of conflict occurring simultaneously in World War III. Jeremiah 30 is a prophecy about both Israel and Judah in the latter days (see verse 24). It reveals a time of “Jacob’s trouble” is coming simultaneously on both Israel and Judah. Judah is the Israeli Jewish nation, but the term “Israel” in prophecy references the modern nations of the ten tribes of Israel, not Judah (the Jews). Jeremiah 30:3 clearly shows that “Israel” and Judah” are separate groups in the latter days. The ten tribes of Israel will also be attacked at the end of this age. Ezekiel 38 offers many details about the warfare which will befall the nations of “Israel” in the latter days. Those who have not done so can either examine my free articles and research papers available at this website confirming that the modern nations of the Western world constitute the ten tribes of Israel in the modern world or they can obtain my books which exhaustively document this assertion.
The Israelis (Judah) are restructuring and increasing their military forces to prepare for a major land war in defense of the Jewish state. Biblical prophecy indicates that such preparations are both timely and wise. They will need all the military forces they can muster at the end of this age. The “kings of the east” which march their armies toward Jerusalem will obviously be mustering in Iran in order to attack westward across the Euphrates River (via modern Iraq). Biblical prophecy indicates Iran will be a nemesis to Israel at the end of this age, and that it truly will seek to “wipe Israel off the map.” Ezekiel 38 reveals Iran (“Persia”) will be allied to Russia, China and other anti-Western nations at the end of this age. The Israelis and the Western nations will have common enemies at the end of this age. The Israelis are building up their military forces, but the USA is exhausting its military in seemingly-endless combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the nations of the western world greatly reduced their militaries at the “end of the Cold War.” Judah seems realistic about the existential dangers in the modern world. On the other hand, the nations of the modern house of Israel seem oblivious to the growing dangers posed by the new strategic/military alliance of Russia, China and Iran. I hope they wake up soon.