Lessons for India from the Israel-Palestine conflict

There are many similarities in the histories of India and Israel. Both are much more ancient civilizations than Christianity and Islam, yet they have been victims at the hands of twin barbaric religions. Both have hostile neighbours who hate their very existence. Both gained their independence in the late 1940s. This is where the similarities end.

Israel is wholeheartedly supported by the USA, while due to non-aligned Nehruvian policies, India was left in the lurch. Though Russia often came to India’s rescue, the relationship was nowhere near the Israel-US friendship. Further, India was besotted with a pro-Muslim agenda and consequently faced major wars in every decade, with skirmishes virtually every day. Though the situation has relatively changed for the better for India, it is still at the receiving hands of external and internal enemies. Its elite remains enamoured of Muslims, putting Hindus at the bottom of the food chain in India.

Lately, Israel also seemed to be infected with the same debilitating disease, and its celebrities started spouting self-defeating lines of ‘bhaichara’. The sample was the statement by an Israeli film director last year, wherein he opined that the Hindu genocide in Kashmir was propaganda. The current attack on Israel should come as no surprise, as such attacks are part of their daily lives. The surprise was a complete intelligence failure and subsequent paralysis for a day. The scene was reminiscent of the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

Anyway, there are always lessons to be learned from such situations, though India is unlikely to learn anything.

  1. Strength respects strength. This is true at the lowest individual level and also at the highest international level. India is yet to become a power in its true sense, both militarily as well as economy-wise. Even when it becomes a power, it should learn to flex its muscles. Observe how smaller countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka cock a snook at India, even when their very survival depends upon it. In the current scenario, the UN is crying hoarse over the blockade of Gaza, but Israel is turning a deaf ear. It is doing what it should do, regardless of the contrarian voices. In earlier instances, India always supported the Palestine cause, but this time, the PM of India made a studied departure from history and supported Israel unequivocally. He knows who our enemy is and who is our friend.
  2. Retaliation: Israel brooks no-nonsense on the terror front, unlike India, which magnanimously bears relentless attacks. Israel kills more enemy people than is required to raise the cost of terror attacks. No international organization condemns the retaliations. In the case of India, every Tom, Abdul and Mamta condemns the state reprisals, no matter how slow or feeble they may be. On this front, India has to learn much from Israel, though, it is easier said than done. India is an unimaginably diversified country with too many vocal and violent minorities. To unite in the event of such attacks is a tough job. In the Mumbai attacks, instead of combating the terrorists, the then-ruling party started the blame game. The message should be that terror is unacceptable and will be dealt with in full force.
  3. Self-reliance on military equipment: Even though India is the fifth largest economy in the world, it hardly makes any military equipment. Govt. organisations like DRDO spend crores of rupees in R&D, yet not much comes out of their factories. The government is then forced to buy almost all the military goods from Europe, Israel, or Russia. If you want to become like Israel, you have to manufacture at least some of your requirements. In the event of a war, supplies suddenly stop.
  4. The chest has to really be 56″. Observe the bellicose statements of the Israeli PM, backed by the corresponding actions. Can the Indian PM match them? A big question. For the past 3 years, after the abolition of Article 370, terror attacks have happened every month, and on average, 10 Indian soldiers have lost their lives. Apart from ‘kadi ninda’ by our defence minister, life goes on as usual. The problem is that India never retaliates. It has to learn from Israel how to decimate the enemy. People all over the world, particularly Muslims, see us as a cowardly community. Even Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis and Nepalese kill our people and soldiers and get away unharmed. The image has to be changed by the required aggressions.
  5. Intelligence: Because of its diversity, India needs internal intelligence more than external one. Of late, terror attacks tend to originate locally in India rather than from outside. In the Kargil War, India’s intelligence totally failed. The scale of RAW/IB has to be brought at par with Israel.
  6. Compulsory military/NCC training: In Israel, 1 year of military training is compulsory. On that pattern, India should make it mandatory, as the Indian education system promotes bookish knowledge with no on-field experience. This will create a sense of nationalism and discipline among the Indians.
  7. Remembering the history: Jews remembered their terrible history and took remedial steps accordingly. They established a Jewish state in the form of Israel. Hindus, too, have an equally violent history, if not more. However, most Hindus are secular and indulge in virtue signalling and feel Muslims have been the victims in India. This feeling pervades the power echelons, which lowers our guard significantly.
  8. Social Media: It is a new tool in the hands of people and can boost or break the morale of the government and the armed forces. Like in normal public life, India is a divided nation in this electronic world.An ecosystem has to be built where nationalistic voice echo.

The ease with which the current attack has been launched on Israel has emboldened Muslims all over the world, notwithstanding the counter-attacks by the Israeli army. In the near future, India must be prepared to face attacks of similar intensity.


Amit Agarwal