By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Mornings and holidays are statistically known to be a time when an enemy will attack, due to the element of surprise. When Syria attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, it was during Shabbat of one of the most important holidays of the year, and Israel will be the first to tell you that they were not prepared, and that the intel they had received was bad. Last week, Israel was attacked on the morning of Shabbat by Iran, but the attack was launched in Syria, and it came in the form of a drone. What happened next demonstrated how quickly things can unravel, and at least from my perch, how completely idiotic it is to have armed Iran with billions of dollars so they can attack our strongest ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East.
An Iranian drone was launched from Syria and penetrated Israeli airspace for about a minute before it was taken out by the Israeli Air Force in the form of an Apache helicopter. Several IAF F-16s were scrambled in response, and there was a successful raid on the base from which the drone was launched as well. In the process, Syria fired off anti-aircraft missiles, and shot down one of the F-16s, but, thankfully, all that was lost was the plane, and it crashed landed on the Israeli side. Both pilots were hospitalized, and the worst wounded has been upgraded to stable condition. And, this is the first time an IAF plane has been shot down since the war with Lebanon in 1982.
But here is where it gets pesky, or perhaps I should say peskier. Do you remember when we allowed the Iranians to hang on to one of our spy drones when it was brought down and captured via Iranian joysticks in 2011? Well, according to Yuval Steinitz, an Israeli security cabinet minister, the drone that was shot down on Saturday was a copy of the RQ-170 Sentinel, which in 2016 Iran boasted it had reverse-engineered.
Of course, Iran calls the charges false, and says, “Claims about the flight of an Iranian drone…are too ridiculous to be addressed because the Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country's legitimate and constitutional government.” Right.
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with the kind of strength for which he is well known. “Israel is seeking for peace, but we will continue to defend ourselves against any attack against us, and against any attempt by Iran to establish military bases in Syria or anywhere else,” he said.
I got to spend part of a day with the IDF when I was in Israel in 2014, on a base not far from all this. One of the things I found most fascinating is how true it is that Israel is for peace. It was apparent, and this is not something that can be faked. You see it in the eyes and body language of people everywhere, not just soldiers. In fact, if I had not lived amongst soldiers in an Iraqi combat zone, who truly were willing to give their lives for the peace of people they had never met, I would not have been as able to quickly recognize that same commitment on the part of the IDF.
Here’s a question: Next month is Purim, the holiday that sprang out of Queen Esther’s triumph in defeating Hamaan without firing a shot. Persia is where that happened, and Persia just happens to be Iran. Is it possible that the same wickedness that wanted to annihilate Israel is alive and kickin,’ and is showing up in the form of a glorified video game? You be the judge.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner