In dealing with the coronavirus, Israel has two advantages over most Western democracies battling the contagion.The first is a population that – though perhaps not the most disciplined in the world – is familiar with crisis situations; is no stranger to the daily rhythm of its life being upended by forces beyond its control; understands and has in the past internalized the need to come together in hours of acute challenges. Israelis have shown a higher discomfort threshold over the last few decades than the citizens of other countries who have been lucky enough not to have faced the same security challenges Israel faces.And Israel’s second relative advantage is it has a military and defense establishment that knows how to deal with crisis, and for whom dealing with mega-crisis situations is its raison d’etre.This country’s defense establishment trains endlessly and has conducted numerous drills simulating huge catastrophes, from wars on three fronts, to a barrage of thousands of missiles from Iran, to earthquakes and – yes – to pandemics.There is no institution in Israel better equipped and trained than the army to deal with a disaster situation like the one we are currently facing. It has the knowledge, experience, manpower and logistical infrastructure to deal precisely with the critical issues the country is now grappling with: from procurement issues, to distributing food and medical supplies, to transporting people and enforcing a curfew over particular cities and neighborhoods.Then why wasn’t it fully mobilized from the very beginning? Why did it take until Sunday for the government to turn over to the IDF the issue of providing for people in nursing homes? Why did it take until late last week for a retired IDF commander, Roni Numa, to take over the situation in Bnei Brak? Why wasn’t the Defense Ministry involved in procuring reagents for the chemical analysis of COVID-19 tests that the country so badly needs?And when, finally, the army has been called in to do some of the tasks that it is well equipped for, it is often done at the last minute, and appears as a last-gasp, stop-gap measure, like putting bandaids on a gunshot wound.But Israel does not need bandaid solutions right now, it needs systemic ones – ones that the army could provide.The reason the cavalry was not called in from the very beginning was not because Defense Minister Naftali Bennett did not want more of a hand in the overall handling of the crisis. He has wanted it from the very beginning.For weeks Bennett has been clamoring for more say and authority in managing the crisis. And when this was not given to him, he was relegated to leading a national campaign to convince older sons and daughters not to visit their mothers and fathers, and grandchildren not to visit their grandparents. But this was a waste of the defense establishment’s capabilities.There is a very natural tendency in gauging how Israel is coping with the crisis, to compare its situation with that of other western countries: like the US, Italy, Spain, France and Britain. And, in comparison, Israel is not doing bad.But that is not the right measuring stick. The true measurement is how we are doing in relation to our capabilities. And Israel – via the defense ministry and the military – has greater logistical capabilities to deal with the virus then it has hitherto displayed.Which does not mean that if Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov would just step aside and let the Defense Ministry take over, or if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would yield more authority in managing the crisis to Bennett – one of his political nemesis – all would be good and the management of the crisis would be smooth and seamless.The Defense Ministry and the military do not always work like a well-oiled machine – just take a look at the way they went woefully unprepared into the Second Lebanon War in 2006. But the military has the logistical capabilities to deal with a crisis of this magnitude that no other institution in this country has.A commission of inquiry was set up after the Second Lebanon War to look at the government and the army’s preparedness for that particular battle. A similar commission will almost certainly be set up after the corona virus dissipates to look into how the government and military coped with this crisis as well.And one question likely to be asked during those hearings will be whether institutional jealousy over turf prevented the Defense Ministry from having a bigger part in dealing with crisis, and whether political considerations – not wanting to give a political rival a moment in the sun – prevented Netanyahu from letting the defense establishment have more of a role in the early days of the crisis.Or, in other words, had Netanyahu still retained the defense ministry portfolio, as he did up until last November, would the defense establishment still only have been called in at the last minute to prevent catastrophe or would it have been asked to take charge from the moment the coronavirus first crossed Israel’s borders?