Above the Fold: Israel takes charge of its own defense

You can sleep well. Israel is in good hands – her own hands.

Lt.-Col. Liron Appelbaum (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Lt.-Col. Liron Appelbaum
One of the ironclad principles of Israel, articulated first and best by prime minister David Ben-Gurion, is that Israel will not rely on anyone else for her defense; that first and foremost, Israel is responsible for her own security and her own destiny; that she will not pass on or subcontract through treaty or through alliance the safety of her country or of her citizens.
This is not mere rhetoric or diplomatic gamesmanship. It is a value grounded in the reality that no one can, or ever should, decide on the safety of the Jewish state – no one other than the Jewish citizens of Israel and their elected leaders. It is more than simply a question of trust. It is the knowledge that an ally will ultimately put their interests first and not yours.     
It also means that never again will Israel be powerless or unable to defend herself. It is a deep and intrinsic understanding that the safety of the Jewish people is a primary priority only of the Jewish people.
All this and more has a been rushing through my mind as I watch and wait for the response of the United States to Iran’s bombing of the Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure.
It was naive and simply delusional to automatically presume that the US would immediately intervene and defend Saudi oil interests. It was diplomatically childish to trust that the US would quickly strike Iran because an attack on an ally of the US is like an attack on the US. It most definitely is not. The Saudis and others held on to that unrealistic and highly impractical belief. They believed that the US would defend the honor of the Saudis, would be their diplomatic knight-in-shining-armor.
The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is very simple. They are allies; not friends, allies. They have common interests and common enemies. Iran is chief on that shared list. The US and Saudi Arabia do not share values, they do not share a common culture or the principles of freedom and equality. On the contrary, they are quite the opposite.
THE RELATIONSHIP between the United States and Israel is not the same as the US/Saudi relationship. But despite the shared values and freedoms of the two countries, despite the big brother/little brother relationship, what does the behavior of the US vis à vis this attack on Saudi Arabia tell us about what Israel can expect from the United States?
Iran is watching closely and learning from the actions and the inaction of the US. Do not think for a moment that Iran has not noticed that the US has not engaged in a military response in not one but in two cases of Iranian strikes against the US or its allies.
The first case was the downing by Iran of a US drone this summer. The second case, of course, is their strike, just days ago, against Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure. In the third and pending case, and in the inevitable cases after that, Iranians will increase the expanse and the frequency of their targets. Next up will probably be oil fields or refineries in Bahrain, a major Shi’ite state – but controlled by Sunnis. If not there, the Iranians will target Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates.
They will continue to push the envelope until it is pushed back. And yes, eventually, an Iranian target will be Israel.
Iran will continue until their actions are met with resistance. The cyberattack that the US perpetrated against it was not understood as a real response, it was a computer response. It was an amateur’s response, not the response of a leading world power.
Saudi Arabia is watching, waiting and learning. Israel is monitoring the situation very carefully. Every leader of Israel knows and knew what Ben-Gurion intuited. And Israeli leadership – no matter who carries that title – may use a preemptive strike against Iran to make certain that Iran knows that Israel knows the score.
One thing is for certain: Israel will not rely on the United States for her defense. Israel will not wait for the US to act. Israel has no time for that. The United States is slow to act, Israel acts with lightning speed.    
You can sleep well. Israel is in good hands – her own hands.
Shanah Tovah u’mevorach to all.
The author is a political commentator and host of Thinking Out Loud on JBS TV. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern.