Quiet with Quiet

March 10, 2024, Israel


We continue with our analysis of the events of the terrible Arab invasion of October 7, 2023. There is a great deal to be learned, from what was done correctly and what was done incorrectly. The key success was that of the ordinary/extraordinary civilians, police, and the limited military forces that were around at the time of the attack. Their heroism can fill volumes and put any Hollywood action film to shame. The key failure was that of the Israeli military leadership, military intelligence and political leadership. The formal investigations that are meant to uncover the reasons behind the Israeli failure to anticipate the attack have been pushed off indefinitely as "this is not the right time to investigate" And yet, we must begin to learn what we can and draw lessons. 

One failure on the political level, has begun to become clear: The governments' policy was that if we are quiet, i.e. refrain from any military action, the enemy will "answer quiet with quiet". This philosophy means the following: If the Arabs fire rockets on us, we can ignore it, and if we refuse to respond, eventually they will stop. Our quiet will be answered with their quiet. What the Israeli leadership feared was an escalation, that if we respond it will only anger the Arabs even more and provoke them to escalate the attacks. This is similar to a question I get all the time - If I try to defend myself against the attacker, the rapist, won't that make it even worse? Or the same joke of two Jews about to be executed in the ghetto, and one says to the other, I would like to ask for a blindfold, and the other responds, Shh, it will only make matters worse

In a personal argument or dispute, this policy of "Answer Quiet with Quiet", might work, we refrain from responding, we choose not to escalate the dispute, and eventually the other party might cease. However, in a military, or a self-defense situation, this is not a wise policy. It is almost like the classic myth of the ostrich that the ostrich hides its head in the ground and therefore sees no danger and believes that there is no danger. 

The ostrich is not that stupid, no animal is, we are!

Ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand and imagine that they’re successfully hidden. That’s just a myth. In reality, ostriches stick their heads in the ground to dig a shallow hole, where they can subsequently make their nests. We might have Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) to thank for the myth. (Science ABC)

Israel's policy was to avoid conflict, at all costs! Israel, despite what our enemies around the world claim, does not want war. We do everything possible to avoid war. And this time we have done too much; we have ignored all the warnings in our attempt to avoid war. Our leadership deluded itself into believing that if we act peaceful, so will our enemy. They will "answer quiet with quiet". 

But this is not true. 

This is a failure to properly understand, and respect, our enemy. Just because we want peace does not mean our enemy wants peace, therefore, peace and quiet shall not be answered with peace and quiet, rather, it will be seen as a sign of weakness and the enemy will attack. 

And that is precisely what happened. Quiet was answered with Noise, peace was answered with unprecedented violence and cruelty. Nonviolence on our part was seen as weakness, and when a predator senses weakness, it attacks. 

This is a key element of self-defense training, a point that is ignored in most martial arts schools, understanding the enemy. We cannot ascribe to them our values. We must learn about their values. The survivors of the October 7th attacks were mostly peace-loving secular Leftists, and yet, they who sought peace now recognize that the enemy "had no humanity" (quoting their words, not my own). Their worldview was shattered in seconds. People that were dancing at a Peace Party saw their friends dragged by the hair, stripped naked in front of the friends, brutally raped, mutilated and then killed in a gruesome and painful way. Wild beasts are gentler, the Nazis were kinder and more humane. The problem was that many Israelis wanted to believe that the enemy was just like us, this is a crucial mistake. A drug lord, a cartel member, is not "just like us". A gang member,  an escaped prisoner, is not "Just like us". We need to understand that, before it is too late. 

Quiet shall not be answer with Quiet, it shall be seen as weakness, and the weak shall be devoured. 

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Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

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