After Secretary of State John Kerry’s anti-Israel “poof speech” last Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – and the subsequent suggestion last Thursday by his spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, that progress was being made in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians (a euphemism for additional, unreciprocated Israeli concessions) – it was a huge relief to be treated to some good news.
Since it is extremely demoralizing to have one’s government pressured into pandering to the Obama administration, it has become increasingly easy to sink into despair about the fate of the Jewish state. This leads to thoughts, aroused by the upcoming Passover holiday, that maybe we Israelites never really escaped Egyptian bondage, and that the only thing left of our yearning for Jerusalem is matza-induced indigestion.
Last Wednesday night, this sense of doom suddenly dissipated – poof! – with the successful launch of the Ofek 10 spy satellite into space.
The Ofek 10 is the latest in a long line of radar satellites developed in Israel. This one is equipped with even more advanced technology, which enables observation and imaging at any time of the day or night, and under any weather conditions.
It is also quicker, more durable and less expensive than its predecessors, thanks to the know-how, hard work and cooperative efforts of hundreds of experts in the Defense Ministry, Israel Aircraft Industries, Israel Military Industries and other participants in the project.
BUT IT is not merely pride in the venture that is uplifting; after all, the wonders of Israeli innovation are old hat by now, eliciting barely a yawn among the public responsible for it.
No, the reason for the surge in national spirit has to do with the purpose of this particular satellite: to monitor the activities of Iran and the rest of the terrorist organizations in the region. It is these entities that constitute the true and present danger to the state of Israel – not the hyped-up demography problem behind the “two-state solution” hysteria; not the inability of young people to purchase apartments; not the issue of foreign workers; not the fight over whether women can pray at the Western Wall as they please or how long haredim should serve in the army; not Sara Netanyahu’s alleged abuse of the staff at the Prime Minister’s Residence; and certainly not the coalition crises created by all of the above.
Indeed, contrary to what Haaretz and its ilk would have everybody believe, the most palpable existential threat to Israel is external. And it is only because of the vigilance of the IDF and resourcefulness of civil society that the world sees only the start-up nation Goliath, rather than the war-torn David, fending off rocket fire on the one hand, and boycotts, divestment and sanctions on the other.
So watching the American administration belittle Netanyahu while allowing Iran to buy time to build a nuclear bomb has had a terrible effect on the country that the regime in Tehran wishes to wipe off the map. That the Palestinian Authority, which is on board with this goal, is able to dictate its terms to Washington has made the whole farce all the more frightening.
The Ofek 10 launch served as a reminder that the Netanyahu government is not succumbing to international inaction with regard to the Islamic Republic and its proxies. Though an intelligence-gathering satellite, not a weapon, its highly publicized lift-off contained two messages. The first was for the mullahs – to let them know that their every military move is being monitored.
The second was for the citizens of Israel, frantically preparing for Passover – to let us know that someone’s got our back.
The writer is the author of To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the “Arab Spring.”