Rare are the violent clashes from which all sides emerge positively cheery. But the latest exchange of fire with Gaza was just such an atypical conflict. When the smoke cleared, both combatants came away upbeat and sure their respective enemy was taught a painful lesson.
We are near-giddy with gladness over the technological wonders of our Iron Dome anti-missile missiles, while the Gazans are hoarse with victory whoops because they managed to fire off as many rockets as they did. We effusively congratulate ourselves because no major catastrophes were wrought on our side of the border. Nevertheless, the Gazans know that had we truly won, they wouldn’t be left standing and able to spark another conflagration at another time.
What does all the sound and fury signify in real terms? Most likely that no lessons at all were taught, that no one was punished and that in all probability we once more critically misread the signs. It’s as if somewhere along the line we’ve managed to lose sight of what constitutes triumph in our peculiar immediate environment. According to Mideastern conventions, the absence of incontrovertibly humiliating vanquishment denotes a degree of victory.
This local logic mustn’t be dismissed out of hand. Continue reading