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How can Israel Prepare for a 'Borderless Open War'?

Israel is engaged in a fierce war, though it has yet to defeat Hamas . The IDF is stronger and more powerful than in any previous wars faced by Israel, and it seemingly confronts a much simpler challenge. The disparities in technology and military might are evident, and these are partly due to the economic power and political support that Israel receives from the U.S.

The reason for the war's prolongation stems from Iran's perception of war: The concept of an "open and borderless war," or a “permanent war,” frequently used by the axis of resistance, aims for a multi-arena war of attrition. This strategy, designed to erode and break the spirit of Israeli society, could last months or even years (About this military doctrine see also "Hamas Is Working from Home"). Indeed, the Iranian proxy axis is exhausting Israel through diverse means  that are not aimed at military defeat but are intended to exact a significant economic and social toll over the long run. All they need to do to achieve this goal is merely to survive.

Soldiers in the fog of war

The decentralized structure of the axis of resistance means that ceasing fighting in Gaza or reducing its intensity does not guarantee a restoration of regional order. Israel's enemies complement their military efforts with soft power, evident in diplomatic and legal attacks on Israel in international institutions during the war, and the anti-Israel grassroots movement in campuses, academia, labor unions, media, and local councils in the West.

The challenge Israel faces requires a reevaluation of security, economic, political, and diplomatic strategies in preparation for a prolonged period of instability and disruption. This situation poses the most complex national security challenge ever faced by the State of Israel, which will only become more complicated as Iran approaches the status of a nuclear threshold state. Economically, this situation stretches the defense budget, raises fears of an economic collapse due to prolonged reserve force service, and potentially leads to boycotts and sanctions. Socially, prolonged political uncertainty and stalemate combined with a “blame game” over the war may deepen disputes over policy and security conclusions, and exacerbate social polarization. This situation is further compounded by expected cuts in social services, tax increases, and a decline in the quality of life. As long as residents evacuated from conflict areas in the south and north do not return home, the lack of trust and ongoing insecurity may also deepen.


We are at a historical inflection point, with few applicable lessons from the past. This demands new frameworks and language. Israel should leverage chances to build novel partnerships with nations that grasp the global nature of the threat, and realize Israel's challenges connect to those confronting the West, like Islamic terrorismm, Iran and it's proxies and  disinformation.


The key to addressing this complex challenge lies in the ability of Israeli society to develop resilience, believe in the righteousness of its path, and maintain social cohesion. The conduct of the government and elected officials critically influences these aspects, but it also depends on civil society's ability to restore the spirit of citizenship, the pioneering zeal and Arvut Hadadit that characterized its inception. To date, Israeli society (and Diaspora Jewry) has responded to the challenge with unity and an inspiring level of mobilization that has surprised the enemy. However, resilience is measured over long distances.


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