Let Israel attack Syria

The reality is that Israel has, since its rebirth in 1948, been a proxy for the United States.

IAF F-15s refueling midflight 390 (R) (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
IAF F-15s refueling midflight 390 (R)
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
President Shimon Peres, one of Israel’s most brilliant minds, recently told me that the wars of the twenty-first century are proxy wars: that superpowers would no longer engage in face-to-face combat, but use proxies to achieve their goals.
The reality is that Israel has, since its rebirth in 1948, been a proxy for the United States. It has been engaged by the US government for decades to deter communism, and did a spectacular job. By doing so, it has kept the US out of the Middle East, a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. After the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the death of almost 7,000 US troops, the American people have little appetite for another war in the region.
There is an old saying: “Never wound a king. Either kill him or leave him alone.” US President Barack Obama cannot target Syria in what he is calling “a shot across the bow” without resorting to a full-scale war. An attack will not be the end of the confrontation; it will only be the beginning for the US. In the Middle East, revenge is more systemic than nationalization. Radical Islam will take revenge on the US through asymmetrical terrorism — the very same threat that closed embassies worldwide in August.
Israel has held its own against Syrian aggression since the first battle fought after her rebirth — in 1948, in 1967, and again in 1973. Syria was also involved in the Lebanese Civil War. After three years of lobbing rockets back and forth across the Lebanon border, the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982. The goal was to neutralize PLO installations in southern Lebanon and remove threats to northern Israel.
Syria moved quickly to reinforce its troops in Lebanon and moved 19 SAM (surface-to-air) batteries to the Bekaa valley. Israel was forced to destroy the weapons. When the smoke settled, all 19 missile batteries had been obliterated, radar sites destroyed and 29 Syrian Air Force fighters downed. The following day, Syria again engaged the IAF, losing another 35 aircraft. Israel lost none. Then-prime minister Menachem Begin informed me that six of the pilots were Russian; their bodies were returned to their homeland. 
In 2007, a partially-built nuclear reactor in Syria was leveled by Israeli bombs. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert told me about this attack. The prime minister said when he called the US president and asked if he would take out the reactor, Mr. Bush responded to Olmert that he could not “justify an attack on a sovereign nation unless my intelligence agencies stand up and say it's a weapons program." Olmert responded that Israel would take care of it, and did. Following the attack, Olmert released no information, nor did he acknowledge the bombing.
In January 2013, the Israeli Air Force attacked two separate threats across the border in Syria: a convoy carrying advanced anti-aircraft weapons from Syria to Lebanon, and Jamraya, a weapons development facility. US intelligence sources believe that the sarin gas recently used in the deadly chemical attack on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s own people was developed there.
In May, a similar attack on a Syrian convoy destroyed advanced surface-to-surface missiles bound for Lebanon. There was no advance media warning, no fanfare. The attack was carried out with surgical precision, a laser-guided attempt to quietly achieve its objective — the safety of the Jewish people.
Israel has been dealing with the Syrian threat for decades. Not only is their shared border closely monitored, Israel has people on the ground. In the early 1960s, Eli Cohen, a Syrian Jew, became a well-known spy for the Israelis. One of his more famous exploits concerns a trip he took to the Golan Heights. After a Syrian army officer explained the fortifications they had built, Eli suggested the Syrians plant trees around the area to deceive the Israelis into thinking it was unfortified. They would, as well, provide shade and beauty for the soldiers stationed there. The Syrian officer readily agreed, and Eli immediately passed the information to Israel. Based on the placement of eucalyptus trees, Israel knew exactly where the Syrian fortifications were located. Israel Defense Forces only had to fire on the eucalyptus trees during the 1967 war to decimate Syria’s troops.
Israel has the total capability to deal with the crisis sanctioned by Syria’s Bashar Assad. The only country to employ both the Arrow and Iron Dome systems against short-range rockets, Israel is currently working on David’s Sling, a medium-range anti-missile system. Although not officially acknowledged, Israel’s nuclear weapons program is thought to have produced between one hundred and four hundred warheads with superior missile delivery systems both in the air with F-15 and F-16 fighter/bombers and at sea with Dolphin class submarines.
The civil war in Syria affects Israeli national security infinitely more than it does the United States. As a proxy, be it quietly or on the front line, Israel deserves unrelenting US support.
Dr. Michael Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His latest novel, The Locket, based on the pursuit, arrest, trial and execution of Adolf Eichmann debuted at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in June 2013.