Israel Policy

Published on 05/14/2004 | by Emanuel Winston | Archived in: Israel Policy


Israel’s military balance

Updated February 7, 2006

Sometimes we lose focus of the bigger picture as Muslim Jihadists ramp up daily terror in Israel and globally. Israel is fighting two wars. One is the war against well-known terrorism which occurs every day — called low-intensity warfare. For the other, the IDF (Israel Defense Force) is preparing for a conventional, area-wide war waged by the surrounding Arab and Muslim countries, many with hidden weapons of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) — including NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical).

Those who belong to any or all of the various terrorist organizations, Hamas, Fatah, Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Tanzim, Islamic Jihad — and all the others connected in neighboring countries, such as Al Qaeda and Hezb’Allah in Syria and Lebanon, are funded and run by the organization in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, ‘et al’.

Although comparing the quantifiable vital statistics in the military balance between Israel and her hostile neighbors is an indispensable necessity, there are other leading, non-numerical factors which need to be assessed. Warfare has changed in almost every facet. It always had layers to be reviewed, but now those layers include primitive, backward nations and terrorists who have the capability of leveling cities and contaminating vast areas with NBC (Nuclear, Chemical and Radioactive materials).

Men and equipment don’t move without pre-planning and the mind-set to do so. Many nations have armies, but in most nations they exist for security and self-defense.  They are not necessarily poised to attack or defend at a time of their leaders’ choosing. The Arab/Muslim nations can, however, use their oil treasure NOT for the benefit of their people, but to keep military forces at the ready for an actionable status.

Israel has maintained her forces in a quasi-alert status for over 55 [64] years. Given the prior six [7] wars, the Jewish nation didn’t know when one or more Arab countries would alert their standing armies instantly to a war footing and move from camp to menace Israel’s borders. This would require Israel to call up reserves from her mostly civilian forces and move pre-positioned equipment and transport equipment to all fronts from main depots.

The last example of a standing army moving from camp was Egypt and Syria’s secret assemblage of forces and surprise attack during the Jewish High Holy Day of Yom Kippur 1973. Add to that the factor of a pre-planned saturation missile attack from Iran, Syria and, yes — even Egypt, all of which can occur within minutes. Presently Egypt — with a $60 [$75 or more now] Billion dollar U.S. investment is a military colossus which could easily represent a vital threat to Israel, especially if the Muslim Brotherhood succeeds in overthrowing the government. [It has.]

Here the Balance of Counter Force was conditional upon the ability of the enemy to quietly assemble its forces over a convenient period of time. What the enemy is able to accomplish over a year or more, Israel had to do within a 24-48 hour period. Therefore, the Balance of Power was highly skewed in favor of any aggressor(s) who could be triggered by the orders of “usually” one man, the dictator of that country. Israel’s enemy or enemies rely on not being challenged or faced with a pre-emptive strike as they quietly gather their forces.

At one time Israel had a doctrine of defense that called for preemption which was dropped due to pressure from the U.S., E.U., U.N., et al. After 9/11, America has since adopted the doctrine of preemptive strikes, recognizing that threats from WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) leave little time to negotiate or slowly prepare defensive forces. Conversely, Israel is still being pressured to restrain herself and not conduct preemptive strikes. In addition, the U.S., at the behest of Egypt, is demanding that Israel be treated like Iran and striped of her nuclear deterrence.

The Balance of Power during the first days of any war for Israel rests on a sliding scale of efficiency which, for Israel, begins on the low end and rises exponentially as her reserve forces are assembled and moved to the front(s). It is expected that in a future war, Israel’s enemies will do everything in their power to impede her civilian mobilization as a vital part of attack planning. This would include blowing up roads, setting ambushes, utilizing the internal Israeli Arabs and Arab Palestinians as an organized “Fifth Column,” dispensing chemical and/or biologically loaded missiles, both at troops and civilians.   When Prime Minister Ehud Barak retreated from Southern Lebanon [in 2000], the vacuum was filled by Hezb’Allah, who now have 15,000 missiles [now ??] — some with chemical warheads, targeting Israel’s entire Northern front.

For Israel, chaos in the cities will delay mobilization and draw vital forces to the trouble spots. Regretfully, Israeli leaders have not made training civilians, particularly retired soldiers, a priority, so they could quickly and efficiently assemble to guard their own neighborhoods and communities. Some may recall the wild confusion when Saddam launched 39 SCUD missiles at Israeli cities. No organization dealt with the confusion or mass exodus out of Tel Aviv each evening before the expected missile strike times.

Equipment can be numerically categorized. But the non-quantifiable deceptive mind-set of various Arab Muslim leaders cannot be added up on a calculator. In terms of Balance of Power, it rests on a sliding scale of mixed components. Some do not lend themselves to actuarial tables. When Prime Minister Sharon evicted 10,000 Jewish men, women and children and surrendered Gush Katif/Gaza, as Barak did in Lebanon — this vacuum is being rapidly filled with a mix of Muslim terrorists and advanced missiles with ranges of 11 to 20 miles, putting the Israeli cities of Ashkelon to Tel Aviv within range.

[Before the Gush Katif surrender, those 21 Jewish communities were qualified as “at-risk” and entitled to extra protection.  Before the Gush Katif surrender, the Knesset voted to qualify 41 communities within range of then available missiles from Gaza as “at-risk”.  How many Israelis know this big fact?   As of now – as shown during the Gaza assault in November, 2012, missiles from our purported Arab peace partners reached near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.]

For example, a broad area of psychological motivation defies numerical evaluation. The Arab Muslims have an accumulation of rage, often driven and stirred up by their religion — Islamic Fundamentalism. We of course, have seen Muslims pour into the streets to engage in joyous riots of destruction after any events involving deaths of Israelis. Their leader awaits any event, no matter how trivial, to prod the masses into street riots against Israel or the West.

Then, they must reclaim what can only be referred to as a macho-driven Pride and Shame for prior lost wars to the infidel Dhimmi (low class outsider). Being beaten six [7] times on the field of battle by an enemy historically discounted as weak and contemptible, creates a certain pathological rage — only satisfied with blood conquest — not political agreements. That is what their leaders tell them, what they sing or chant during huge demonstrations, what they teach their children — to hate and kill the Jews.

“In Blood and Fire, we will redeem you, O Jerusalem” is their continual chant. Rage is a highly motivating factor. Capturing Jerusalem is a highly symbolic act which is intended to prove the capability as Muslim warriors which will also prove that Allah supersedes HaShem, the G-d of the Jews. Pride and Shame are the Twin Pillars which are the main support of Islam’s Jihadists.

According to Koranic or Shari’ah law, politically-driven written agreements may be used temporarily to regain strength and then re-engage the enemy. Such agreements when accepted by one’s adversary are looked upon as indicative of weakness which usually encourages and accelerates the next attack.

Yassir Arafat frequently described Oslo as a Hudabaiya Treaty” in speeches to Arabs in Arabic on the day it was signed and often thereafter. Mohammed signed a 10 year peace treaty with the Jewish Koreish (also spelled: Qurayza, Quraish) tribe of Jews in order to pray in Mecca at the fabled Kaba’a Stone, but he returned with a stronger army in two years, massacred all the men by decapitating them, selling the women and children into slavery. [Now decapitation has returned to the Islamists’ weapon of choice.]

Psychological warfare may be practiced as a science by the West, but within the Arab and Muslim cultures it is endemic. Myth and hyperbole quickly become fact. At the next launch of Muslims’ conventional warfare against Israel, it is anticipated that the Mullahs will encourage Arab Muslim civilians to launch massive human wave attacks on Israeli cities and towns and to block the roads to prevent mobilization. This tactic falls within the hysterical willingness to commit ritual suicide which allows a Muslim a “guaranteed entry into warrior’s heaven and other benefits”.  Street mobs with shrieking women and men firing guns into the air is the rule, not the exception.

Conversely, Israel’s motivation among her civilian army is that they cannot sustain even one loss. Losing one war means that Arab Muslim soldiers would plunder, kill all the Jews — including women, children and the elderly. They say they will in so many words — declaring this is their “scorched earth” policy. The Israeli soldiers and general population know the Arab tendency to savagely mutilate captured prisoners — cutting off body parts, burning, breaking skulls of children, etc.

Israeli soldiers are motivated by the fact that they and their families have nowhere to which to retreat. Unlike the Arab Muslim nations with vast lands which could never be conquered or occupied by the comparatively small Israeli forces, Israel has little strategic depth, militarily speaking — even with Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights. Regrettably, Israeli leaders, at the orders of the U.S., are contemplating abandoning these areas hoping to appease the Palestinians, the 22 Arab and the 57 Muslim nations. Israelis have long recognized their peril and must follow the philosophy of “Ein Breira” (No Choice). Clearly, the motivation of the fighting soldier is a “Force Multiplier” in the Balance of Power which cannot be calculated in numbers.


As a result of 6 [7] aggressive wars by the Arab Muslim nations, Israel has had to use its GNP/GDP to purchase and/or build war making equipment at enormous expense. Unlike such nations as German, Japan or, more recently, Iraq 1991, Israel was never compensated by the aggressor nations who lost each war. Because Israel was never allowed to complete its victory to the point of the attackers’ surrender, it could neither force a peace nor demand war reparations. Every war in which Israel was forced to fight, she lost the blood of countless dead and wounded soldiers and the staggering costs in dollars. Note: The walking wounded, many of whom must be cared for all of their lives, are a staggering cost in hospital care, electric wheel chairs, psychological assistance, etc.

Israel’s Balance of Power was greatly affected by their nation’s single budget which had to counterbalance the individual Arab nations’ budgets which were often pooled collectively, funded by oil, or given by donor nations — including the U.S.  Such nations as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria/Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Libya initiated and participated in wars against Israel, wasting their nation’s treasure on war and terror rather than building a productive society. Each promptly began to rebuild their military after each loss — with more and better equipment – usually from the West and especially, the U.S.

Israel was consequently forced into an endless, expensive arms’ race to maintain a credible military balance and deterrence against attack. Arabs respect strength of arms. This is Israel’s best deterrent against major war. Therefore, Israel is forced to rely upon U.S. aid to a great extent, coupled with onerous terms of restraint, thus lowering necessary pre-emptive response. In mentioning “deterrence”, Israel has a non-stated Nuclear Deterrence which the Arabs, along with the U.S. State Department, want Israel  to surrender.

This destruction of equipment provided a profit windfall to weapons’ manufacturers in almost every nation of the Free West — in addition to Russia, China, and North Korea, etc. Such sales were in the trillions of dollars and thus considered a profit center for these nations. War was profitable and therefore to be encouraged, or at the very least, not terminated. Most every major nation relies upon weapons’ sales as a profit center both for cash flow and employment. Keeping Israel from total victory in each of the six [7] wars initiated by the Arab/Muslim countries was a policy decision to appease Arab oil nations, but this policy also served to keep the arms manufacturing plants in production.

An arms race against well-funded and numerous hostile nations is a major factor in considering the Military Counter Balance in the Middle East. If there were an objective World Court with unbiased, genuine authority, Israel’s claims against these nations could very well exceed several trillion dollars as compensation for wars thrust upon her. Clearly, cost of defense is a compelling factor in assessing the Balance of Power for any nation.


Another phase of a non-numeric view of the Balance of Power comes with terror which is defined as “low-intensity warfare.” The alert and cost status to keep the military and police in the field continuously is staggering. The cost in lives, killed, wounded and maimed for life is incalculable. Arab Muslim nations have funded proxy terrorist organizations who are constantly in motion — always able to choose the time and place of attack.

The main bankers, weapons’ suppliers and terrorist organization sponsors have been Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Iran and (until recently) Iraq. While each of these nations themselves remains an armed threat which is quantifiable, they also act as financial enablers of numerous terrorist organizations. I must add that the U.S. State Department — despite confirmed knowledge of Arab Muslim Palestinian terror — continues to press Congress to fund Yassir Arafat’s and now Mahmoud Abbas’ corrupt Palestinian Authority.

One must add to that those funds paid yearly by the so-called donor nations of the E.U. (European Union) and U.N.R.W.A. (United Nations Relief Works Authority). All seem to understand that these funds do NOT go to civilian infrastructure and the Palestinian Authority for civilian benefits, but rather to Mahmoud Abbas (‘nom de geurre’ Abu Mazen) to maintain his terrorist organization. Despite complaints and proofs laid before the E.U. (European Union), they remain political and financial supporters of Abu Mazen’s terrorist organizations. Even with the recent election of Hamas, the E.U. and England will continue funding the Palestinian Authority as if Hamas will NOT get the money.

Here the Balance of Power gets fuzzy because the terrorists operate amidst the civilians in uncountable numbers. They deliberately use women and children as Human Shields to commit terror acts and to hide behind. They recruit the so-called “civilian” Arab Muslim Palestinians as suicide bombers, spotters and snipers who are a “Fifth Column” situated in the heartland of the Jewish State of Israel.

It has long been anticipated that, in time of war internally, local Israel Muslim Arabs would move to mine roads and undertake other sabotage intended to tie up Israeli troops and keep them from getting to their staging areas during mobilization. Therefore, Israel must field combat troops from the reserves to interdict terrorists, which depletes time from proper training for war, in addition to wearing out the reservists and depleting equipment. The cost to each reserve soldier to leave his school or job and family is impossible to assess but it is a cruel price Israel must pay in order to defend her people from terror and to be prepared for the constantly threatened full scale War. The cost of maintaining a sophisticated army on a war footing is far greater than the expense of maintaining terrorists within the Arab Muslim civilian population. Here again the Balance of Power tips both ways against Israel — depending on circumstances.

As mentioned previously, we must factor in the Europeans, Arabs, Muslims and America as donor nations. Much publicity has been given to the several billions of dollars poured into the coffers of terrorists and terrorist organizations by the various donor nations. Here the Balance of Power cannot necessarily be measured in numbers of men or armaments. The donor monies allow terrorist networks to be established and funded on a global basis which penetrates the political establishment via terror or bribery. It is anticipated that Europe and America will pay a heavy price for not confronting Muslim terror networks long before 9/11 and after.

This is definitely a “Force Multiplier” that cannot be physically counted. Perhaps it can be “guess-timated,” but it is highly effective in draining away forces, thereby tipping the Balance of Power. A stark example is the American forces being worn down by Saddam’s Ba’ath Party insurgents, joined by other Muslim terrorists — euphemistically called “foreign forces” or mujahidin (Islamic warriors for their Allah).

Here again we observe the phenomenon of Arab and Muslims voluntarily migrating to a war zone to confront the infidels. It can be anticipated that the same mix of Jihadists who poured into Iraq from surrounding Muslim countries will migrate into Gaza or whatever territory is surrendered to them as another Arab Muslim Palestinian State. Israel will be under constant assault for years with terror launched from territories abandoned or given over to appease not the terrorists but, Israel’s friend, America.

Another alliance that represents the Counter Forces is that between terrorists motivated by religion – namely, radical Islam – and other terrorists who simply wish to overthrow the government in power in their region. With that, one can add criminal elements such as the drug cartels and counterfeiting rings that connect and ride in with the terrorists. Syria has been especially active in smuggling drugs and counterfeit currency, in addition to supporting the numerous terrorist organizations. Each acts as a support mechanism for the other — particularly in cash flow operations.

For many, being employed as a terrorist is both a salaried job with guaranteed payments to your family if you are “martyred,” and for the young men it is a thrilling life which they will sacrifice to get to “martyrs’ heaven”. It is also a dramatic way to escape the poverty and boredom of backward nations who are held back from modernization by radical Muslim clerics and dictators. One can observe the joy when Muslims quickly elevate their rage and riot in the streets when urged on by their clerics.

These alliances can’t be numbered, except to estimate their power as Force Multipliers.”


On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate Arab Muslim Palestinian Propaganda around 8 — while Israeli Counter Propaganda would barely reach a 2. For reasons that are totally unexplainable, the Arab Muslims seem to understand how to motivate and manipulate world opinion while the so-called “Smart Jews” cannot seem to even grasp the rudimentary elements of propaganda (in Hebrew called Hasbara − which means explanation). While all major nations have recognized the need for propaganda, Israelis are generally too late with their explanations, mostly inarticulate in English and resistant to employing professional spokesmen or thinkers.

In Israel every officer seems anxious to express his opinion, often admitting or accepting blame for incidents which, on further inquiry, are often proven to be false. By the time they offer a well-researched denial, the story told by the Arabs is off the front pages or TV news and the negative impact is firmly embedded. Israel also faces this problem internally, caused by pacifists of the Left who actively subvert Israel’s fighting capability and the morale of her civilians and military population. They are one and the same, because Israel must rely on her civilians fulfilling the role of a reserve army.

Here, the Balance of Power is radically tipped as the Arab Muslim Palestinians and the Arab Muslim nations successfully court world public opinion, causing many governments and their people to turn against the Jewish nation. This results in embargos, cancellations of contracts (military and civilian−economic and scientific). The willingness to vote sanctions against Israel in world organizations is tremendous — especially in the United Nations. Here we find that words are indeed mightier than the sword. Add to that, the World Media, who still call terrorists “militants” when they commit atrocities against Israelis or Jews [or any free Westerner].

Granted there is always the oil weapon as a persuasive factor, but the Israelis make it easier by literally abandoning the field of pre-emptive propaganda and failing at an effective explanation of their actions — even after the fact.

Israel and the Jewish establishment watched passively while anti-Semitism ramped up — especially in Europe — encouraged by Arab Muslim Propaganda. Anti-Jewish attitudes, always on a low flame, can easily be placed on high burner, deeply affecting Israel’s Military Balance of Power in real numbers. Cutbacks of military development programs due to shortfall of funds did strike at Israel’s military readiness and Balance of Forces. Managing insurgency in a restrained manner in order to assuage world opinion raises the costs exponentially.

In brief, Israel’s Military Balance rests on many factors besides the inventory and cost of tanks, plane, missiles and soldiers.


About the Author



Manny Winston, my late husband, flew from Chicago to Israel to volunteer during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. He arrived with US secretary of state Henry Kissinger’s first ceasefire on October 21; I followed on October 30th.

Manny was picking grapefruit at Kibbutz Dalia when his friend, the artists, Sol Baskin called with a permit to enter the war zone. They drove to meet Gen. Ariel “Arik” Sharon at the Suez Canal. “Shalom” Baskin was part of the Mahal volunteers from America to the IDF, and a commissioned officer in Mahal. He was Arik’s commanding officer during the 1948 War of Independence, and they remained friends.

Manny brought his two Leica cameras and photographed an outstanding photo exposé on October 29 and 30. He saw and smelled the “killing fields” He met with Sharon, the young soldiers who had survived the destroyed tanks and he saw how the blown tank turret, flipped upside down destroyed the lives of those brave souls inside.

Manny did see these effects and, because he was a true Renaissance man, a graphic thinker who was a painter, sculptor and political analyst, he envisioned a solution to the weak point of the tank. He described a technique to conquer that weakness to Sharon, who sent him to Maj.-Gen. Israel Tal, the developer of the famed Merkava tank.

Manny’s “leap of imagination” created what became “Blazer” or “Reactive” Armor. He designed rectangles of hollow metal boxes with an explosive charge inside. These ‘so-called’ “skirts” were placed around the neck of the tank turret so that when hit, the explosive charge therein would push the incoming ballistic missile out, thereby saving the tank and its crew. This was compatible with the primary goal of Gen. Tal’s Merkava tanks: Defense of the Tank Crew.

That, along with speed, maneuverability, effective shooting and protection against damaging desert sand, were what made the Merkava “The Tank a Jewish Mother Would Love,” as Manny called it.

He also designed a better bridge for crossing the Canal – easier to carry and assemble, and less susceptible to the huge holes the tanks had already created on the day’s existing bridge.

Manny continued to submit creative concepts for defense and offense to Israel’s military industries – for which he received his Israeli citizenship and security clearance. Many of his concepts and ideas were adopted throughout the years. He never asked for credit or remuneration but even today, I see his concepts being used, either in action or in military articles. Someday I hope to publish the “WINSTON DEFENSE DESIGNS,” either online or in a book – a very big book, with his original drawings.

The Yom Kippur War was a seminal turning point in Israel’s history. We did win. It was a miracle, given the forces mounted against us, in number and backed up the Soviet Union.

We have 40 mounted color photographs by Emanuel A. Winston, ready to show at a traveling or permanent exhibition, which will enhance our appreciation of what our men and generals went through and achieved.

The Yom Kippur War was also a seminal turning point in the lives of the Winston family. It was our second trip to Israel. We had tried to make Aliyah in 1962 but didn’t succeed. I made Aliyah on November 7, 1979. Manny died on June 12, 2012, and is now buried on the Mount of Olives.

I sold the home he built in Highland Park, Illinois, in August 2012, and brought his manuscripts and published papers, to the home I built in Israel in 1992. Two of our sons and their families also live in the Jewish state.

My heartfelt message for you, the reader, is to invite all my friends, family and Internet friends to come to Israel. This is where a Jew can be truly Jewish.

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