Skip to main content

Israel Deputy Chief of Staff Favors Air Power

Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, a leading candidate for Israeli chief of staff, sees Operation Pillar of Defense as vindication of air power, writes Alon Ben David.
An Israeli air force F15-E fighter jet takes off for a mission over the Gaza Strip, from the Tel Nof air base in central Israel November 19, 2012. Israel bombed dozens of targets in Gaza on Monday and said that while it was prepared to step up its offensive by sending in troops, it preferred a diplomatic solution that would end Palestinian rocket fire from the enclave. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY)
Read in 

In contrast to the disappointment evinced by the Israeli public, the Israel Defense Forces are now summarizing their analysis of the Pillar of Defense operation in Gaza with great satisfaction. Israel’s military views the operation as a small-scale prototype of Israel’s future wars: short, powerful, and reliant on aerial power. Evidently the IDF has extricated itself from the trauma of the Second Lebanon War (2006) failed ground maneuver and has amassed enough confidence to refrain from a ground offensive in future conflicts as well. The new deputy chief of staff, General Gadi Eizenkot, who currently seems to have the greatest chances of being appointed the next chief of staff, is a most prominent exponent of that approach.

Why does the IDF label Pillar of Defense as a “success”? Although politically the operation led to a rise in Hamas’ stature, militarily — it ushered in a peace and quiet to the Southern communities that they have not experienced in years. While high-echelon military figures are not taking any bets on the future, many of them expect the quiet in the South to extend for a long time. The IDF is still impressed by the efficiency with which the Hamas enforced the cease-fire on all the factions in Gaza — in (almost) one fell swoop.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.