Israel: April 7, 2000


In the 1967 War, Israel attacked first (after numerous provocations). In 1973, Israel waited to be attacked. The differences between how the two wars went is stark, and is burned into the Israeli psyche. Striking first is, obviously, a better way of running a war, most Israelis feel, and Israelis note that they survived the 1973 attack because they held the Sinai (now gone), the Golan Heights (almost certainly to be ceded to Syria), and the West Bank (much of which is now under Palestinian control). Israeli doctrine has been to hit first and win. The Arrow missile system is aimed, partly, at being able to survive a surprise attack using new weapons. The problem is that only a handful of Arrows are now in service, and however many the Israelis deploy, the Syrians (plus the Iranians, Iraqis, and Libyans, among others) could always deploy more. Israel's official answer to missiles that leak through or overwhelm the Arrow system is to rely on the Patriots, but these cannot intercept anything larger or faster than a Scud and there are still doubts as to how effective it is against these weapons. --Stephen V Cole


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